Charleston Boating Accident Attorney
Boating is a popular recreational activity for South Carolina visitors and residents. The popularity of the sport also raises the risk of accidents on the waterways. If you have been the victim of a recreational boating accident then you will need the help of a skilled Charleston boating accident attorney, like Max Sparwasser, to protect your rights and help you win fair compensation for your injuries.
When do Boating Accidents Occur?
During the summer months is when most fatal boating accidents occur. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) reported that in 2017, June (654) and July (1,070) saw a rapid increase in boating accidents, almost doubling any other month that year. Naturally, more people are utilizing waterways but, boater education saves lives. However, not all individuals operating watercrafts are properly trained.
That same year, 81% of deaths occurred due to operators not receiving proper boat safety training. Only 14% occurred when the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate. An untrained boater will not know the proper steps to take, in order to prevent an accident from occurring, or how to react in a life-threatening situation. This is an issue because each state has its own boating laws and regulations. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) created a reference guide of state boating laws that outlines each state’s requirements.
Maritime Injury Laws You Should Know
While certain boating accident injuries fall under South Carolina law, many of them actually fall under the jurisdiction of admiralty law. There are various maritime law factors to consider in boating accidents. One of the most important things to look at is whether or not the crash took place on navigable or non-navigable waters. Admiralty laws can be very complex and confusing. Insurance companies will have representatives that are well-versed in this area of the law, so you should too. Get in touch with a Charleston boat accident lawyer to see how they can help you and your case.
The Main Causes of Boating Accidents
In 2017, it’s estimated that 11,961,568 recreational vessels were registered in the United States. Boating fatalities are second to highway traffic fatalities, with 4,291 accidents resulting in 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars in damages.
Each year South Carolina sees an increase in boating-related accidents. Between 2012 to 2016 there were over 100 boating accidents in South Carolina alone. That is almost one boating accident every three days. 2016 saw 136 accidents. However, in 2017 the rate increased to 151, the highest number in the past 5 years. An experienced Charleston boating accident lawyer will stay updated on all accident statistics for their clients.
What is the Cause of Most Boating Accidents?
In 2017, there were a total of 4,291 boating accidents in the United States. While not all of the factors reported are due to human negligence or error, it’s the responsibility of the boat operator to control the factors that they can. This includes ensuring that they have the proper boat safety training, paying close attention to details, and abiding by state boating laws.
10 Primary Causes of Boating Accidents in the United States 2017
|Contributing Factors||Number of Accidents||Number of Deaths||Number of Injuries|
|Navigations Rules Violations||257||22||165|
|Force Of Wave/Wake||169||17||148|
[Source: USCG Boating]
Vessels with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (47%), kayaks (15%) and personal watercrafts (7%).
Many boat wrecks occur due to driver incompetence. Boat operators are often inexperienced, causing them to drive at unsafe speeds. A majority of boat drivers are also intoxicated. Similar to car wrecks, boat drivers are typically responsible for the crash. However, since boat owners are not required to get insurance, it makes accidents more complicated. Speak to a Charleston boat accident lawyer for guidance on your case.
South Carolina Boating Accidents 2012-2017
[Source: USCG Boating]
Common Boating Accident Injuries
The type of injuries that people can sustain in boating accidents is slightly different than those in car accidents. Here are the most common injuries that occur in boating accidents:
- Broken bones
If you were a victim of any of these injuries, contact a Charleston boating accident lawyer for help filing a claim.
What to Do After A Boating Accident in Charleston
If you have been involved in a boating accident then you may have the right to compensation for the damages incurred because of your injuries. Damages can include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, and pain and suffering. You should take these steps to safeguard your rights:
- Seek medical attention. Get it as soon as possible. Some pain from injuries may not surface until later so an evaluation right away is important to establish a baseline.
- Gather information. Record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident, including any possible witnesses.
- Stay silent. Don’t talk to anyone, especially insurance representatives, about the accident or your injuries. It’s okay to answer questions from law enforcement officers but be sure to get the report or incident number from them for your records.
- Don’t sign anything. Consult with your own Charleston attorney before you sign anything.
- Secure legal representation. You need to find an experienced Charleston boating accident lawyer to represent your rights.
If you sustained other injuries on a boat, such as a sprain from a slip and fall incident on a boat that isn’t your own, speak to a personal injury attorney in Charleston, SC immediately.
How to Prevent Boating Accidents in Charleston
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following for a safer boating experience:
- Life jackets. Life jackets are life savers. When someone falls out of a boat, whether he or she is wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between life and death. Injuries sustained in an accident can make swimming difficult or impossible. Everyone on a boat should be wearing a life jacket.
- Alcohol. Driving a boat while intoxicated isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal. Judgment, balance, reaction time, and coordination are all affected when a person is under the influence of alcohol. Boating while under the influence is reckless and puts the driver and passengers at risk.
- Education. Boating education classes train the operator about safe driving and navigation of vessels. If the driver has the proper education, he or she can frequently avoid dangerous situations.
- Safety check. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free safety checks. During this public service, a certified vessel examiner inspects the boat. Boats that pass the inspection receive a decal indicating that it complies with state and federal laws.
- Carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s extremely poisonous, invisible, and odorless. Be sure that your boat has working carbon monoxide detectors and can be properly ventilated.
How to Secure Legal Representation in Charleston
If a boating accident leaves you with injuries, get in touch with one of the Charleston boating accident attorneys at the Max Sparwasser Law Firm, LLC. They will provide you with aggressive representation to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. A free case evaluation is a phone call away. Call today.