One of the first things people think of when they imagine South Carolina is the natural waterways throughout the state. From the 3,000 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean that features plenty of beautiful beaches, such as Myrtle Beach, the 8,000 miles of rivers that flow through the state, and the bountiful lakes that take up 460,000 acres total across the area. It can be an idyllic boater and water sports playground for residents and visitors alike. However, no one wants to think about the dangers that can come from being on the water. Being involved in a boating accident in Myrtle Beach, SC or anywhere can be scary and leave behind lifelong injuries or, in the most severe cases, result in wrongful death. Connecting with a Columbia boat accident lawyer near you is often an excellent first step to getting the compensation you deserve for your South Carolina boating accident.[lwptoc]
South Carolina Boat Accident Statistics
Nationwide, there has been an increase in recreational boating that can be attributed to the pandemic causing more people to get out on the water than ever before. With that rise in boaters, there have been increases across the board. The number of boating accidents increased by 26.3% in 2019. There was a 25% increase in fatalities and an increase of 24.7% in injuries.
With abundant water sports and boating occurring in South Carolina, it’s not surprising to learn that there are a large number of boating accidents every year. In South Carolina alone during 2020, there were 153 South Carolina boating accidents regarding recreational boats. Of those accidents, 21 involved fatalities, with 25 deaths in total. In addition, 56 of these accidents involved non-fatal injuries, where 81 people were injured, and 76 of these accidents resulted in property damages involving upwards of $1,501,665 total.
Nationwide, the leading cause of death from boating accidents was drowning, followed by trauma. Over 80% of the deaths attributed to drowning occurred when the individual wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The top contributing factors include operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, machinery failure, navigation rules violation, alcohol use, weather, hazardous waters, and waves/wake.
Types of Boating Accidents in South Carolina
Some of the most common boating accidents in South Carolina include:
- Instances where individuals are thrown overboard, such as being thrown off the back of a jet-ski or falling off a boat due to sudden acceleration
- Collisions with either an object in the water, such as a dock or fixed post
- Crashes that occur between two or more boats
- Grounding of the boat
- Errors in operating the boat
- The boat being flooded from a leak or high waves
Often, boating accidents are caused by some type of operational error due to neglect or risky behaviors, such as drinking and operating a boat or using excessive speeds. The owner or operator of a vessel involved in an accident caused by this type of negligence may be held liable for the injuries and damages resulting from the boating accident.
South Carolina Boating Laws and Regulations
Similar to operating a motor vehicle in South Carolina, numerous laws govern using a boat in South Carolina, as laid out in the Official State Regulation Guide. For instance, all boats must have personal floatation devices that are Coast Guard-approved that are in good condition, and ready to be used in case of an accident. Boats are also required to have flares if they travel on the ocean. In addition, someone who operates a boat under the age of 16 must have completed an approved course or have someone over 18 onboard with them.
What Can Be Done After a South Carolina Boat Accident
Many people ask “What should I do after a boat accident?” Similar to car accidents, the law requires that boating accidents in Myrtle Beach, SC, or anywhere in South Carolina have to be reported to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) if one or more of the following factors occurred:
- Damages to the boats that would cost at least $2,000 to repair
- The involved boat is damaged beyond repair
- The vessel sunk
- Any severe injury
- A passenger of the boat goes missing
- A fatality
When in doubt, it can be beneficial to speak with the Columbia boat accident attorneys near you at The Jeffcoat Firm to determine if a boating accident needs to have an official report filed. Our personal injury lawyers can help guide you on the proper steps after your boating accident in Myrtle Beach, SC, or anywhere in South Carolina.
Potential Damages After a South Carolina Boating Accident
A Columbia boat accident attorney near you that’s experienced with these types of personal injury claims can help you determine the different potential damages that you may be able to seek in your suit. They can include:
- Medical bills
- Any salary amounts you’ve lost due to not being able to work after your accident
- Wages you would have been able to earn if you hadn’t become disabled due to the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional harm
- and other damages
If a loved one was killed during the South Carolina boating accident, damages could also include loss of companionship and wrongful death. Every case is different, and speaking with an experienced Columbia boating accident lawyer near you who has previously handled boating accident claims can help you get the compensation you deserve and set a realistic idea of what damages you can request to receive.
Is a Columbia Boat Accident Lawyer Necessary After a Boating Accident?
Whether you were involved in a boating accident in Myrtle Beach, SC, Lake Murry, Lake Watree, or elsewhere in South Carolina it can be helpful to have a boating accident on your side. You may have already gotten an offer from an insurance company to cover the damages, but that first offer may often be unfair to you. The insurance company, whether your insurance company or the insurance company covering the defendant, is often more interested in protecting its bottom line. In our experience, we’ve seen that they may be trying to take advantage of you in this situation. Once they realize that you have an experienced Columbia boating accident lawyer on your side, they will often come to the table knowing that you won’t be an easy target.
Have you been involved in a boating accident in South Carolina and need someone on your side? Contact the Columbia boating accident attorneys near you at The Jeffcoat Firm today to discuss your situation with a law firm that handles boating accidents in Columbia and all of South Carolina. Our legal team can help you determine the best way to proceed with your personal injury claim. Call for a free consultation today to discuss the specifics of your boat accident.
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