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Boating Accidents

North Carolina lakes in the summertime are quite popular. Lakes give people a chance to relax and provide an oppertunity to cool down. However, with an increasing population and higher congestion (combined with increased drinking) boating accidents in North Carolina have increased. Our lawyers have handled cases throughout north carolina.

In the Charlotte area many of our clients visit Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Lake Gaston, and Lake Lure. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident and you need a boating accident attorney in North Carolina, please contact us. There are laws which govern the operation of a boat just as their are laws which govern the operation of a car. A failure to obey those laws, resulting in injury, is negligence.

The most common injuries result from water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, and other kinds of water sports and recreation activities. Many injuries occur when you add alcohol to the mix. If someone serves too much alcohol to an individual who becomes drunk and injuries someone else, both parties may be liable. Further, the laws of driving while impaired govern the operation of a motor craft.

Many people believe, incorrectly, that the law ends at the water's edge. This is patently incorrect. If a operator of a water craft ingests enough alcohol to become impaired and causes a crash on the lake they may be held liable for the injuries they cause. Further, the at fault party can be arrested for boating while impaired.

Many times injuries on the lake can be catastrophic. Unlike a car, there are typically no seat belts on a boat. Further, there is less protection (IE airbags) on a boat. Treatment following a boating accident follows the same rules following a car accident. Your health is the number one priority.  You have the right to treat with whomever you wish.  You do not need the permission of the insurance company.  Once you have completed your treatment a demand will be forward to the insurance company for compensation of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  If your injury was caused by someone else's negligence, you need to call us today for a free case evaluation. There are never any up front fees for us to handle your case and you will only pay if your case is won.

Boating Accidents

In the last several years, tens of thousands of new boats were registered in North Carolina. These vessels and other water crafts had free access to North Carolina's many area lakes and rivers.  Further, the amount of development on our lakes have increased substantially over the years.  These developments include bars and restaurants which allow boats to pull up and be served.  If the proprietor of a bar or restaurant serves alcohol to an operator of a boat, to the point of intoxication, and an accident ensues, the bar may be held liable under the dram shop act.

Not all boating accidents are even reported. It is estimated that only five to ten percent of non-fatal accidents are on record at all.  Typically, fatal accidents involve the victims drowning.  The question to be looked at in these types of accidents is what type of safety equipement was on board, including life preservers, life jackets floatation devices, etc.

While there are numerous causes of boating accidents, of course, a great many of them are preventable. A review of the statistics show that the majority of these accidents were caused by operator inexperience or inattention. A large percentage of all boating fatalities that occur on boats happen where operators have not completed a boating safety education course. Some of the most common reasons for boating accidents include: Lack of experience for boat operators, recklessness/careless boat operation, operator inattention, operating at an unsafe speeds, no proper lookout.

Another serious cause of boating accidents is the consumption of alcohol while operating a boat. While the statistics change yearly alcohol plays a major role in nearly one-third of all recreational boating fatalities, and is, on a yearly basis typically the number one cause of boating accident deaths. There have been numerous studies looking into the effects of alcohol while on the water in terms of judging speed and distance.  Further, alcohol in the water can result in diminished coordination, dehydration, susceptibility to hypothermia, and impaired judgment. In North Carolina, just like driving a car, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or barbiturates, or any impairing substance.  The penalties for doing so could include fines, prison time, community service, mandatory substance abuse counseling, and more.

Many times people are injured while operating jet skis and other smaller watercraft.  Many times operators of these smaller craft collide with larger boats on the water, resulting in catastrophic loss.  This is usually because the operators of these smaller craft are operating at very high speeds.  When a collision occurs there may be limited warning and therefore a limited opportunity for people to protect themselves. Further, if people are swimming in the water there maybe a limited ability for people on smaller watercraft to see them, especially at high speeds.

Minimizing Injuries While Boating

There are steps that can and should be taken when operating a recreational vessel to prevent a boating accident or to minimize the damage if an accident occurs:

First, an operator and all passengers should always wear life jackets and dress for possible immersion.  At different times in the year there will be less opertunity for patrols to inistiate a rescue.  While it is recommended that no alcohol is consumed while on the water it is desirable to at the very least limit the amount.

If and when a boating accident does occur, the operator of a boat in the state of Arizona is required to file an accident report with the proper authorities. For example, if any of the following conditions occur you must report:

Boating accidents can and do happen for a multitude of reasons.  If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident because of someone else's negligence you are entitled to fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.  We recommend contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you get the best results.  The sooner an experienced attorney is contacted the sooner an investigation can begin.  Please contact us to discuss your case.  You will be connected with a boating attorney who can discuss your case.


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