boat accident lawyer

South Carolina Boat Accident Attorney 

After a Boat Accident, It’s Important to Speak with an Attorney Who Has a Clear Understanding of Your Legal Rights 

If you or your loved one have been injured in a boat accident in South Carolina, call Luke today at (843) 379-3285 for a free consultation. We will fight for your justice!

A day on the water shouldn’t forever alter your life. All boaters in South Carolina have a legal duty to exercise due care at the helm, and this duty exists specifically to help keep passengers, crew members, and other boaters safe. Unfortunately, many boaters aren’t as proficient as they should be, and even highly experienced boaters can (and do) make mistakes on the water. 

If you’ve been injured in a boat accident, you will want to speak with an attorney about your legal rights as soon as possible. When choosing a lawyer, it is important to choose someone who has specific experience handling boat accident cases in South Carolina. These cases are unique in many respects, and an experienced South Carolina boat accident lawyer who is familiar with the waterways of the Lowcountry and serves Beaufort County, Jasper County, Colleton County, and Hampton County will be able to provide the advice and representation you need to secure the outcome you deserve.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents in South Carolina 

Boat accidents should not happen. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation Rules and South Carolina’s boating laws are designed to prevent accidents, and there is simply no good reason for anyone to get injured on the water. 

Yet, boat accidents do happen, and they happen far more often than they should. More often than not, boat accidents in South Carolina are attributable to negligence at the helm. Whether due to inexperience, inadvertence, or recklessness, boaters make mistakes that end up putting others in harm’s way. For example, some of the most common causes of boat accidents in South Carolina include: 

  • Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs 
  • Failing to follow the rules of navigation (i.e., the rule requiring boats to pass port-to-port in narrow channels or the rule requiring boats to turn behind other boats crossing from starboard)
  • Failing to slow down or maneuver in time to avoid a collision 
  • Going too fast for the current weather, water, or traffic conditions 
  • Not knowing how to safely maneuver at a boat ramp, public dock, or marina 
  • Overlooking hazards on the water (i.e., other boats, aids to navigation, sandbars, or pilings)
  • Texting, navigating, taking photos or videos, or scrolling social media at the helm

Of course, many other issues can—and do—lead to boat accidents as well. From rowdy passengers to inadequate boat maintenance, if you have been injured in a boat accident involving any circumstances in which someone else may be to blame, you should talk to an experienced South Carolina boat accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

What You Should Do After a Boat Accident in South Carolina 

In addition to talking to a South Carolina boat accident lawyer, there are some other steps you should try to take promptly after a boat accident as well. For example, to assist your lawyer with asserting your legal rights, you will want to: 

1. Preserve as Much Evidence and Information as Possible 

boat accident attorney in south carolina

Boat accidents inherently present challenges when it comes to investigating their cause. With this in mind, when you’ve been injured in a boat accident, it is best if you can preserve as much evidence and information as possible. If you have photos or videos on your phone, keep all of them to share with your attorney. If it was your boat that was involved in the accident, you should do your best to document the damage to your boat as well. You should also write down everything you can remember about the accident while the details are still fresh in your mind. 

2. Report Your Boat Accident to the SCDNR

Nearly all boating accidents must be reported under South Carolina law. If you have not done so already, you should report your accident to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). If you aren’t comfortable contacting the SCDNR on your own, or if you aren’t sure what you should say, your attorney can report the accident for you. 

3. Document Your Injuries and Their Daily Effects 

Along with documenting the accident (to the extent that you can), you should also start getting in the habit of documenting your injuries and their daily effects. Keeping track of your medical records is a good place to start, but you will want to take photos and record notes throughout your recovery as well. The more details you can record about how your injuries negatively impact your day-to-day life, the more valuable your notes will be when it comes time to seek just compensation. 

FAQs: Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Boat Accident in South Carolina 

How Long Do You Have to Report a Boat Accident in South Carolina? 

In most cases, you have 48 hours to report a boat accident in South Carolina. You must file your report with the SCDNR. Also note that if you have boat insurance, you may be required to report the accident to your insurance company as well. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Boat Accident Injury Claim in South Carolina? 

If you have a personal injury claim for injuries you sustained in a boat accident in South Carolina, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim (in most cases). However, it is strongly in your best interest to speak with a local x as soon as possible. 

What Damages Can You Recover for a Boat Accident in South Carolina? 

Victims of boating accidents in South Carolina can seek just compensation for all of their financial and non-financial losses. The “compensatory” damages available to victims include compensation for their medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other financial and non-financial losses. Punitive damages will be available in some cases as well. 

Request a Free Consultation with South Carolina Boat Accident Attorney Luke Paulick 

To learn more about filing a boat accident claim in South Carolina, contact us today. Call 843-379-3285 or tell us how we can reach you online to speak with attorney Luke Paulick in confidence as soon as possible.