Charleston Boating Accident Lawyers
Boat & Personal Watercraft Accidents in South Carolina
South Carolina is home to numerous lakes and waterways, making recreational boating a favorite pastime of many. However, while a day out on the lake can be a fun way to spend the weekend, recreational boating poses many risks when people fail to act with reasonable care.
Boating accidents tend to have devastating effects due to the fact that these incidents take place on the water. As a result, many boating and personal watercraft crashes lead to near-drownings and fatal drownings. Even when victims survive, they often sustain serious, life-altering injuries, including broken bones, burns, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and more.
If you or someone you love was involved in a boating accident in South Carolina, Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC can help. Our team of experienced Charleston boat accident attorneys is dedicated to helping victims of negligence fight for fair compensation and justice. While we recognize that no amount of financial restitution can negate the traumatic experience you have endured, nor its aftermath, a successful personal injury or wrongful death claim can allow you the resources you need to manage unexpected financial challenges while providing the space to heal.
On This Page
- Common Causes
- What is Considered Boater Negligence?
- Who Can Be Held Liability
- Damages You Can Recover
- How We Can Help You
Boats and personal watercraft of all types are just like any other motor vehicle—they are heavy, can travel fast, and require a certain level of experience, skill, and attention to operate safely. Because it is a recreational activity, however, many people do not think of boating as something that should be taken as seriously as driving a car. As a result, many boaters are negligent.
Negligence is one of—if not the—most common causes of boating accidents. Sadly, this means that most recreational boat crashes could have been avoided had the individuals involved exercised the appropriate attention and care.
Boater negligence takes many forms, including but not limited to:
- Operator Inattention: When the operator of a boat becomes distracted or simply fails to pay attention to what they are doing, they can collide with other boats, people in the water, fixed objects, and other hazards.
- Alcohol Use: For many, a day on the lake is not complete without a beer. However, boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving drunk—and the consequences are equally as serious. Alcohol use is a contributing factor in far too many boating accidents.
- Excessive Speed: When boaters fail to follow no-wake rules or drive at excessive speeds, they are exponentially more likely to lose control. High speeds also affect a boat operator’s ability to safely and successfully slow or stop in time to avoid collisions.
- Operator Inexperience: In some cases, a young or inexperienced boater may fail to follow local or state laws. In any case, boaters who lack experience can make errors that have devastating or even deadly consequences.
- Boating Rule Violations: Boaters are required to know and obey various rules on the water. Those who violate navigational rules, no-wake zone rules, right-of-way rules, and others can cause serious crashes.
- Improper Lookout: Boat operators and passengers who fail to keep a proper lookout for hazards and people in the water can collide with these objects and individuals, leading to serious injuries and/or fatalities.
In some cases, boaters themselves are not responsible for boating accidents. This might be the case when machinery failure or boat defects contribute to or cause an accident. Other times, outside factors, such as poor weather conditions or unsafe waters, can lead to a crash or increase its severity.
At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we work with a team of investigators, medical professionals, economists, and other specialists who help us determine how the accident occurred, its effects on your life, and, most importantly, who is liable.
Determining who is responsible for a boating accident is important, as injured victims generally must bring a case against the liable person or party to recover compensation for their damages. The circumstances surrounding the crash are also important, as they typically point to who caused the accident and, therefore, who is responsible for the resulting damages.
In a given boating accident case, any of the following parties may be liable:
- A negligent boater/boat operator
- A company that rents/leases a boat
- A private boat owner
- The manufacturer of a defective boat/faulty machinery
- A negligent boat passenger
At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we fight to hold these and other liable parties accountable for your damages, including but not limited to:
- Emergency medical care
- Ongoing and future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Future lost earnings and lost earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Wrongful death damages, including funeral costs, lost income, loss of love and support, and more
In some cases, we may be able to pursue punitive damages, which are available in cases involving egregious or wanton/willful negligence.
With more than 20 years of litigation experience representing both injured individuals and defendants, our Charleston boating accident attorneys are well-versed with all sides of the law. We understand the lengths insurance companies and other liable parties will go to in their efforts to devalue or deny claims—and we know how to fight back and protect the rights of our clients.
At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we represent victims of all types of recreational maritime accidents, including boating accidents and crashes involving personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, rentals, and more. Whether you were injured as a boat operator, passenger, or swimmer, our firm is ready to fight for the full, fair recovery you deserve.
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