Boat Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC

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Boating is a popular activity in South Carolina because of the state’s extensive Atlantic coastlines, rivers, and lakes. Enjoying the water on a speed boat, cabin cruiser, jet ski, fishing boat, or another type of watercraft can be a lot of fun, but water-based activities are also dangerous. Sometimes, accidents happen that are no one’s fault. However, there are other times when injurious accidents could have been prevented had individuals, boat manufacturers, and even government entities simply exercised the level of care and consideration mandated by law.

If you have been injured in a Columbia boating accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation from those who contributed to the cause(s) of your harm. Contact a Columbia boat accident lawyer at the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis right away to learn about your rights and legal options. We have been named one of the best injury law firms in Columbia, SC, and attorney Chris Davis has been recognized as a “Top 40 Under 40” lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association for several years. We have extensive experience handling boat accident claims, and we’re ready to put our skills to work for you.

Contact our office today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and to learn about our client-focused approach to representation.

Are Boating Accidents Common in South Carolina?

South Carolina has thousands of miles of rivers and streams, hundreds of thousands of acres of lakes and reservoirs, and thousands of miles of tidal coastline. It’s no wonder that boating is one of the most popular recreational activities in the state.

Unfortunately, this also means that boat and watercraft accidents are common in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, during one recent year, there were hundreds of recreational boating accidents in the state and more than a dozen fatalities caused by these accidents.

Examples of boating accidents include:

  • Collisions between watercraft or vessels
  • Collisions between a craft/vessel and a fixed object
  • Grounding
  • Flooding
  • Overturning/capsizing
  • Fires
  • Falls overboard
  • Machinery accidents, including crush accidents and entanglements

What Are Common Causes of Boat Accidents in South Carolina?

Some of the most frequent causes of boat and watercraft accidents in South Carolina include:

  • Speeding
  • Insufficient lookout
  • Insufficient number of crewmembers
  • Operator inexperience
  • Operator distraction or inattention
  • Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Violating navigational rules
  • Carrying excessive numbers of passengers
  • Lack of safety equipment, such as life vests, or failing to have young children wear vests
  • Adverse weather conditions or dangerous waves
  • Creating excessive wakes or operating into a wake
  • Failure to consult navigational charts
  • Inadequate vessel and equipment/machinery maintenance
  • Improper storage of hazardous or flammable materials or fluids

What to Do After a Boat Accident

When you have been involved in a boat accident, you’ll want to take steps to protect your legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Our firm will then be in a strong position to build a solid case against those who are responsible for the accident. Here are a few things you should consider doing after a boat accident to better ensure that your rights are protected and your legal options are preserved:

  • Document the accident by taking pictures and video of the scene of the accident, vessel damage, and any visible injuries you suffered.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with each boat operator involved in the accident. If you can’t do this because of your injuries, have someone do it for you.
  • Report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or, depending on the circumstances of the accident, the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Seek treatment from a medical professional who can diagnose and document your injuries. Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and instructions and keep all follow-up appointments. This will create a medical record of your injuries, which may serve as necessary evidence in your case.
  • Keep copies of bills and invoices for expenses incurred as a result of the accident, including medical bills and receipts for repairs to your boat. Compile your pay stubs or income statements to calculate your lost wages if you cannot work after the accident due to your injuries.
  • Document your recovery from your injuries by keeping a journal to describe the pain, physical impairment, and any emotional distress that you experience.
  • Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries on social media, since the other side could potentially use what you post to diminish your injury claim.

Finally, make time to talk with a Columbia boat accident lawyer from the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis to discuss the circumstances of the accident and how we can help you seek compensation for your injuries.

How Long Do I Have to File a Boat Accident Lawsuit in South Carolina?

Under South Carolina’s statute of limitations, you likely have three years from the date of a boat or watercraft accident to file a lawsuit against the party or parties at fault for the accident. Filing a lawsuit after the deadline may result in your case being dismissed. This means that you could lose your opportunity to recover compensation from those responsible for the accident. It is critical to speak to a boat accident lawyer from the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis as soon as possible to discuss your legal options, gather critical evidence, and ensure that you file a lawsuit on time.