As temperatures soar, Charleston families flock to nearby beaches and lakes to cool off. Boating is a popular pastime – and a great way to escape the heat and humidity. But just like on the roadways, accidents happen.
If you have been injured in a boating accident caused by another person’s reckless or negligent behavior, Hoffman Law Firm can help! We will handle your personal injury claim, working to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
How Boating Accident Liability Works in South Carolina
Whether behind the wheel of a car or a boat, each person operating a vehicle has a duty owed to their passengers and to others on the water. This obligates drivers to follow the rules of the waterways, such as obeying speed limits.
If reckless driving or failure to follow safety regulations results in a crash, injury victims are eligible to file a personal injury claim. When pursuing a personal injury case, keep in mind that it is best to have an experienced Charleston injury lawyer on your side, offering legal advice and communicating with the insurance company.
South Carolina boating accidents either fall under the jurisdiction of South Carolina negligence law or federal maritime law. Here’s how our personal injury lawyers distinguish between the two: If the accident happened on a landlocked lake, negligence law applies. But if the accident occurred on water used for international commerce (such as the Intracoastal Waterway), federal maritime law applies.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
One poor decision can turn a day of fun in the sun into a potentially deadly one. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, these are the most common causes on boating accidents:
- Boating under the influence
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of boating accidents in South Carolina, so if you are going to drink, DO NOT operate a boat. Enjoying an alcoholic beverage on a boat is not illegal, but driving a boat while drinking is.
Just like car accidents, many boating accidents are the result of speeding or reckless driving. To avoid both boating and car crashes, be sure to stick to the speed limit.
- Dangerous water conditions and severe weather
Make sure to consult the weather forecast and tide charts before leaving the dock. Plus, always be prepared for a pop-up summer thunderstorm like those common in Charleston, South Carolina.
- Inexperienced boaters
Avoid boating alone until you have navigated the waterways multiple times and are familiar with your route.
- Faulty equipment or machinery failure
Broken or insufficient onboard navigation lights and incorrect weight distribution can cause serious problems.
- Failure to observe right-of-way rules
Like the rules of the road, it is crucial to follow the rules of the waterways.
- Failure to anchor properly
Be sure to drop anchor securely before disembarking the boat.
Always keep a fire extinguisher on board in case of emergency!
Trust Hoffman Law Firm for Advice on Your Personal Injury Case
If you have been hurt in a boating, car or truck accident, contact our Charleston personal injury attorneys today! Conveniently located in North Charleston, South Carolina, we are proud to serve boating and auto accident victims in Mount Pleasant, Summerville and throughout Charleston County.
Our personal injury lawyers will fight for the damages you deserve, including compensation for medical costs, property damage, lost wages and pain and suffering. We even handle wrongful death suits if your loved one lost their life in an accident. Contact Hoffman Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.