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Boat Accident Attorney in South Carolina

South Carolina has many rivers and lakes where boating is a popular activity, including Lake Hartwell and Lake Moultrie, as well as the Savannah River. Many people enjoy a lazy afternoon on the water with friends and family in their own boats, while others rent a boat for a day.

Unfortunately, any vessel on the water is at risk of getting into an accident, including capsizing or fire. At Surasky Law, our legal team helps boat accident victims get compensation for their injuries when someone’s negligent or wrongful conduct leads to personal injuries. These are tragic accidents, in many ways just like car crashes on the road. But victims face an additional hazard on the water: drowning.

Contact us today if you or a loved one was injured in an accident. Our South Carolina boat accident lawyer can discuss your chances of receiving compensation and what information you need to bolster your case.

Boat Accidents Are Common in South Carolina

The state’s Department of Natural Resources collects statistics regarding boats in South Carolina. They have found that we experience around 100 boating accidents each year, many of which are fatal.

In 2018, for example, the state experienced 142 boat crashes. The number for previous years ranged from 96 up to 163. By many accounts, the number of boats in the state has only increased since 2018, which means the chances of accidents have also increased.

What Causes Boat Accidents on the Water?

In our experience, many boat accidents are caused by one of the following:

  • Distraction. The boat operator could fail to pay attention to the water because of conversations with passengers or even cell phone use. Consequently, they slam into another vessel or run aground because they were not sufficiently attentive.

  • Alcohol or drugs. Intoxication can impair an operator in the same way it impairs the driver of a motor vehicle. After drinking too much, an operator will have slowed reflexes and an impaired ability to process information. They might also become drowsy or make poor choices.

  • Boat defects. Some defects on the boat could cause it to perform improperly. Defects include machinery defects but also the absence of life preservers and lifeboats.

  • Poor weather. Reduced visibility by fog or storm makes it much harder to operate a boat safely. With vision impairment, your odds of running aground or hitting something go way up.

  • Reckless behavior. The operator could go too fast or hit a wake wave when he should have slowed down. Reckless behavior endangers everyone on the boat and in the surrounding area.

  • Operator inexperience. The operator might not have the experience necessary to operate a boat safely and make some simple mistakes that a more seasoned boater would not have.

Of course, every boating accident is unique and must be analyzed based on its own facts. Instead of assuming you know the cause of the accident, speak with an attorney who can spearhead an investigation into the cause.

Boat Accident Injuries

Injuries can range from relatively minor to fatal injuries. However, we tend to see more serious injuries in boat accidents because passengers have little protection. In a car, seat belts and airbags prevent a person from slamming into the dashboard or being flung out of the vehicle. On a boat, however, people can get tossed about—and even thrown overboard—because there are no restraints.

Some of the most serious injuries we see include:

  • Burns. A fire onboard could cause burns to a victim who can’t escape the fire in time.

  • Fractures. Getting thrown around on a boat can lead to traumatic injuries, including broken bones.

  • Soft tissue injuries. Sprains, strains, and contusions are common with collisions, especially when people are tossed around inside a boat.

  • Brain injuries. A passenger could strike their head in a collision or suffer an anoxic brain injury if they almost drown. These serious injuries could result in lifelong impairments.

  • Death. Unfortunately, dozens of people die in boating accidents because they fall overboard and drown. Even if someone can swim, they might be knocked unconscious or hit by another vessel and drown.

Getting appropriate medical care can also be a challenge, especially if you are offshore. It could take hours to be rescued or even get back to land so you can be taken to the hospital. Delayed treatment can make moderate injuries even worse.

We Can Negotiate a Settlement on Your Behalf

Obtaining fair compensation is often very challenging. First, you need to prove fault for the boating accident, which might not be clear. If you are seriously hurt, you probably can’t conduct your own investigation, so meeting with our lawyer is very helpful. When hired, we gather information about the accident, including eyewitness testimony. We might also investigate the boat.

Armed with enough evidence, we can demand fair compensation for your boat accident injuries. We often seek monetary damages for medical care, income loss, property damage, and pain and suffering.

We may also file a wrongful death claim if a loved one dies. This is a unique type of lawsuit that is very complex. It seeks to compensate certain surviving family members for losses suffered after the death of a loved one. Let us review the facts to see if you can make this claim on your behalf.

Because incidents on the water differ from those on land, you should hire a lawyer with boat accident experience. In some situations, especially when you are at sea, international law can come into play.

Speak with our South Carolina Boat Accident Attorney

Surasky Law has deep experience in all types of personal injury cases, including the law of negligence. We understand what deadlines you must meet to protect your rights and how legal concepts like comparative negligence could affect your case.

For more information, please contact us today. In a consultation, we can go over what you know about your boat accident and pinpoint what additional information is necessary to analyze your rights.


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