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Charleston Boating Accident Lawyer

According to the DNR, there were 451 recreational boating accidents in South Carolina between 2017 and 2019, resulting in 44 deaths. South Carolina ranks 7th in the Nation per capita with 500,000 boats registered and Charleston County is top of the list with approximately 36k registered boats.  

Boating accidents can leave the injured to deal with significant medical bills, financial challenges, physical pain, as well as emotional trauma. South Carolina laws require that the people whose negligence or irresponsibility caused boating accidents to be held legally liable for the damages that result.

To obtain compensation after a boating accident injury or death, you’ll need to pursue a legal claim for damages. And for that you’ll want to select a boating accident lawyer that has the knowledge and experience putting together an effective legal strategy.

Recreational Boating Accidents, Injuries and Deaths

Boating is one of the most popular pastimes in South Carolina, a state which is made up of approximately 30% water. Over 8,000 miles of rivers, 3,000 miles of coastline, and 450,000 acres of lakes. South Carolinians enjoy fishing, pleasure boating, water sports, and more.

The US Coast Guard reports in 2020 alone there were 5,265 boating accidents and 3,191 people injured. While alcohol plays a part in many boating accidents, an even more common reason is an operator with inadequate safety instruction. According to the Coast Guard, almost 90 percent of boating accident fatalities occurred aboard boats where the owner had not reviewed safety instructions or taken an approved safety course.

Common Boating Accident Causes

The U.S. Coast Guard has made a list of common causes of boating accidents, including:

  • Operator inexperience

  • Speeding

  • Operator distraction or inattention

  • Alcohol or drug use

  • Storms or bad weather

  • Failure to observe right-of-way rules or other boating rules

  • Improper lookout or failure to observe others on the waterways

  • Broken or insufficient onboard navigation lights

  • Failure to properly ventilate the boat or boating equipment

  • Obstructed or restricted vision

  • Improperly starting the boat while it is in gear

  • Failure to anchor the boat properly

  • Overloading the boat or incorrect weight distribution

In many instances, the boat operators could have prevented an accident by obeying the law and exercising a reasonable degree of care. When boat operators fail to behave responsibly, they may be legally liable for the resulting injuries.

Compensation After a Boating Accident

Everyone has a duty to obey boating safety rules and to exercise reasonable caution. This duty is owed to passengers and others on the water. A boating accident victim might show that someone fell short of this obligation by proving that the boater was more careless than a reasonable person would have been in a similar situation. Showing that the boater violated safety laws may also suffice.

There are several situations in which an accident victim may be able to pursue a claim for compensation after a boating accident:

  • A passenger who gets hurt in a boating accident because the boat operator was under the influence.

  • A passenger who is hurt in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else on the waterways.

  • A boater who is harmed because of a defect in the boat or boat parts.

  • Those harmed because of negligent boat maintenance.

  • Someone whose spouse or another close relative is killed on a boat due to operator negligence could pursue a wrongful death claim.

Contact A Boating Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been hurt on a boat, schedule a free consultation at West Law today. Our Charleston boating accident attorney, Caroline West has over 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of the injured and their families.

Let West Law fight for your legal rights and help you get your life back on track after a boating accident.


Get in touch today!  

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