Plenty of Lexington residents enjoy the proverbial life aquatic, whether it is on nearby Lake Murray or any of the other numerous bodies of water within and bordering the state of South Carolina. However, just like when driving a car on the road, caution and reasonable care are essential components of operating a boat that can lead to serious injury if neglected.
In the aftermath of an injurious incident involving a boat or other watercraft, you may have many questions about civil liability on the water that a personal injury attorney could answer. Once you have spoken with an experienced Lexington boat accident lawyer, you should have a much clearer picture of your legal options and of how you could pursue compensation for harm that a negligent boater caused you to suffer.
Holding Boaters Liable for Reckless or Careless Behavior
While the specific statutes that govern them may be different, the general progression of car accident cases and boat accident cases is more or less the same. In both scenarios, an injured plaintiff must prove that someone else directly caused the accident that harmed them through an action that constitutes a breach of their duty of care.
Like all motorists, everyone operating a boat in a South Carolina waterway owes an implicit duty of care to everyone else around them to act reasonably and safely. Reckless or careless actions like boating while intoxicated or distracted, violating maritime laws regarding right-of-way and speed limits, and failing to properly maintain a watercraft could all be used by a Lexington boat accident attorney to demonstrate liability on another person’s part.
However, civil plaintiffs in South Carolina often have to show that they themselves are not liable in addition to proving that someone else is. According to precedent set by previous rulings in South Carolina civil courts, a plaintiff found partially liable for their own injuries may have any damage award they receive proportionally reduced based on their degree of fault.
Recovering Compensation for All Applicable Losses
Again like car accidents, certain types of specialized insurance coverage may make financial recovery easier in the event of a boat accident. For example, uninsured/underinsured coverage may be crucial if the person responsible for a crash does not have boat insurance of their own, and salvage coverage could help offset the costs of recovering a vessel that sinks after a severe impact.
Outside of traditional insurance options, though, South Carolina is a fault state, which means plaintiffs are eligible to seek compensation directly from liable parties for medical bills, property repair costs, non-economic damages like pain and suffering, and more, instead of having to first recover through whatever insurance they carry themselves. However, any civil action taken against a negligent boater must be filed within three year of the accident in question, as per South Carolina Code of Laws §15-3-530. A dedicated maritime accident lawyer in Lexington could help ensure this deadline and any others applicable to a case do not negatively impact an injured plaintiff’s recovery.
Talk to a Lexington Boat Accident Attorney Today
An accident out on the water may leave you with debilitating injuries, a wrecked vessel, numerous financial losses, and no idea what to do about any of them. Instead of foundering in the civil court system by yourself, consider enlisting professional help in the form of a qualified Lexington boat accident lawyer. Call today to get started on your case.