People cherish South Carolina for its numerous lakes and rivers, with scenic boating routes gracing the state, including the Edisto River, easily accessed from Walterboro’s Colleton State Park. If you are a boater, you know how free it feels to escape into nature on a beautiful day. You also know to equip your boat, refrain from drinking too much, and forbid any unlicensed person from taking the wheel. Some boaters do not know or do not care and cause devastating injuries to others.

Failing to equip a boat properly or drive responsibly puts passengers and other boaters, swimmers, and water skiers at risk of severe injuries and even death. If you began your day with a leisurely boat ride and ended up in the hospital because of someone’s negligence, a Walterboro boat accident lawyer could help you navigate the course to compensation. A personal injury attorney is ready to support you through a claim.

State Boating Laws

The state requires residents to obtain a watercraft license by taking a safety course and ensuring the completion certificate is available while driving a boat. Children younger than 16 cannot operate motorboats or personal watercrafts on state waterways. The state also mandates boaters to keep equipment on board, including:

  • Navigation lights while boating between sunset and sunrise
  • S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) in the correct size for each person aboard
  • A Type IV throwable device for boats 16 feet or longer
  • A Coast-Guard-approved hand-held fire extinguisher for boats less than 26 feet and additional extinguishers for larger boats
  • Flares if boating in coastal waters
  • A Sounding device, such as a whistle or horn, on vessels less than 20 meters

This equipment saves lives and could be the difference between a responsible captain and a careless one. If an accident occurs, an operator could be responsible for the injuries to passengers and other boaters. A skilled attorney in Walterboro understands the state’s laws regarding boat operation and could connect an individual’s recklessness to a wreck.

Negligence as the Basis for Compensation After a Boating Accident

Negligent behavior occurs when one person or entity does not act like a responsible and reasonable person would in a similar scenario. If another person is injured because of the wrongful act, that individual may be entitled to compensation.

For example, boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal in the state. The Coast Guard aggressively enforces BUI laws because drinking contributes to many boating deaths in the state. A drunken boat captain who runs ashore, sending passengers over the windshield onto the sand, will be responsible for their injuries because of their breach in the standard of care. A boat crash attorney in Walterboro could hold the captain accountable by fighting in court for the compensation the injured parties deserve.

Compensatory Damages in Boating Accidents

Compensatory damages replace monetary and non-economic losses suffered in a wreck. Economic losses are easy to figure and include medical bills, rehabilitative care, and lost wages. The jury puts a monetary value on non-economic losses, reimbursing a plaintiff for pain, disfigurement, emotional stress, and loss of active family life. A knowledgeable lawyer in Walterboro could accurately evaluate your losses and demand reimbursement for them after a boat wreck.

Punitive Damages

An at-fault party whose actions blatantly disregard the injured party’s life may have to pay punitive damages to dissuade such behavior in the future. The state caps punitive damages to three times compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is more. If the defendant’s conduct constitutes a felony, the cap raises to $2 million, or four-times compensatory damages.

A Walterboro Boat Accident Attorney Could Right Wrongs

The draw of the state’s coastal, lake, and river boating is unique. Whether fishing or enjoying aquaculture, everyone agrees that the state offers it all. Everyone expects boaters to do their part to keep boating safe. Sometimes, a reckless boater causes a wreck, and you could be left with life-altering injuries. Our legal team believes those careless boaters should compensate you for your losses, and we will fight in court for your future.

Contact Whetstone Perkins & Fulda if a boater acted recklessly and harmed you. A Walterboro boating accident lawyer understands how much compensation will mean to you as you recover.

Whetstone Perkins & Fulda