Boating accidents can result in serious injuries and damages, leaving victims wondering about their legal options for seeking compensation. As a boat passenger, you trust the operator to ensure your safety and the safety of others on board. But what happens if you are injured due to the operator’s negligence or recklessness? Can you sue the driver of the boat?
Understanding your legal options as a passenger is crucial if you have been injured in a boating accident. A South Carolina boating accident lawyer can help you navigate the state’s maritime and personal injury laws to help you get compensation for your injuries.
Your Rights as a Boat Passenger
As a boat passenger in South Carolina, you have several rights that ensure your safety onboard. The boat operator must provide you with a safety briefing before the vessel departs, including instructions on using safety equipment and emergency procedures.
Additionally, the operator must ensure that all passengers have life jackets on board and that they are readily accessible. You also have the right to a safe and seaworthy vessel and to be free from the negligent or reckless operation of the boat.
Common Boat Injury Scenarios and Who Is at Fault
In South Carolina, you may be injured in different scenarios. For instance, you may suffer injuries on a boat that someone owns, while riding on a rented boat, or as a passenger on a boat tour.
You Are Injured on a Friend or Family Member’s Boat
When you suffer injuries as a passenger on a boat the driver owns, the fault depends on the circumstances that led to your injury. If the boat owner fails to maintain it properly or operates it recklessly, they may be liable for your injuries. If another boat or watercraft caused the accident, for example, breaking wake zone rules, the operator of that vehicle might be at fault.
You Suffer Injuries on a Boat the Driver Rented
If you’re a passenger in a rented boat involved in an accident, liability is determined by the nature of the accident. The boat rental company is responsible for maintaining the boat and ensuring it has the required equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, navigating lights, and personal flotation devices.
If the accident was caused by boat operator negligence, they may be liable for the accident and your damages.
You Are Injured on a Private Boat Tour
If you’re a passenger on a private boat tour, the liability depends on what caused your injuries. Your damages may be due to negligence by the tour boat operator or a third-party vessel. If the tour company rents their boats, the company that owns the watercraft may also share liability.
Private boat tours may have specific terms and conditions that outline liability. Your attorney from Joye Law Firm can review these policies to determine who is at fault and discuss your legal options. Oftentimes our clients will say, “but I signed a release.” Liability release waivers are typically meaningless if there is provable negligence on their part.
How to Obtain Compensation for Your Boating Injuries
In South Carolina, boat operators are not required to have liability insurance. This can make getting compensation for injuries in a boat accident challenging.
If the person at-fault has boat insurance, they’ll likely have bodily injury liability coverage, which can provide compensation for medical bills due to injuries sustained onboard their vessel.
However, you may need to pursue a claim through their homeowners’ insurance if they don’t have boat insurance. The at-fault party is typically covered under their policy’s liability coverage, which typically has at least a $100,000 limit to pay legal fees and restitution to injured parties.
Your boating accident attorney from Joye Law Firm can help you understand who is at fault in your accident and how to receive compensation.
Discuss Your Case with a Boating Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a boating accident in South Carolina, contact Joye Law Firm to discuss your case. An experienced attorney can assess your claim’s merit, determine who is at fault, collect crucial evidence, and fight for you in court if necessary.
Contact Joye Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation.