Greenville Boating Accident Attorney
It’s hard to say what South Carolina is most famous for, but its beaches and beautiful waterways are undoubtedly a big part of The Palmetto State’s allure.
With a number of lakes and coastal retreats within a few hours of Greenville, it may come as no surprise that boating on our many lakes and waterways is a favorite retreat for many of upstate South Carolina locals. Whether you are boating, sailing or using personal watercraft on Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee, Lake Marion, or any of the many rivers and waterways of South Carolina and Georgia, a boating accident can turn your life upside down.
There’s no doubt about it — boating can be a lot of fun. But it can also be dangerous, especially when enormous or high-power vessels are entrusted to careless hands.
That happens more often than you might think. Many watercraft injuries are caused by careless boaters who’ve rented their watercraft for the day, despite the fact that they have relatively little experience or training. These boat accidents occur largely because people underestimate the perils of watercraft or are inexperienced and simply do not have knowledge of the nautical “rules of the road” and good safety principles. The biggest mistake people make is not understanding that boats and other watercraft are not equipped with brakes and it takes a lot of time and distance to stop a boat. Another issue involves jet ski or personal watercraft operators who do not know that the ski requires the use of the throttle to turn.
Boating and watercraft education is crucial to limiting boat accidents and minimizing the injuries that flow from boat accidents. Unfortunately, many states like South Carolina and Georgia do not require any boating instruction or experience and they limit mandatory instruction to operators under a certain age or a vessel over a certain length. This places many people behind the wheel of a yacht, boat or helm of personal watercraft without any specialized knowledge of that vessel’s operating characteristics or even what to do when another yacht, boat or personal watercraft is coming at them.
There is no minimum age to take the online boat safety exam in South Carolina.
Anyone 16 years of age or older may operate a boat or PWC without restrictions.
Persons younger than 16 years of age may operate:
A boat or PWC powered by less than 15 horsepower without restrictions.
A boat or PWC powered by 15 horsepower or more only if:
They are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or…
They have passed a boating safety course approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
It is unlawful for a person to cause or allow a child over whom they have permanent or temporary responsibility to operate a boat or PWC illegally. Moreover, by statute the boat owner is responsible for any negligence of any operator using the vessel with the owner’s permission or anyone related to the owner.
The South Carolina and Georgia boat accident lawyer at Hammack Law Firm, Paul Hammack, has operated boats and personal watercraft, and he knows the navigational rules and safety laws. Paul currently owns two jet skis so he understands what is required to keep himself and others safe. He has practiced Admiralty and Maritime law for 15 years and has represented hundreds of clients in boating related accidents. If you want an experienced boat accident lawyer, Paul is your guy.
Our South Carolina boat accident attorney and staff commonly handle personal injuries and deaths involving:
- Pontoon Boats or Deck Boats
- Personal Watercraft (Jet Skis & Wave Runners)
- Center Console Runabouts
- Cabin Cruisers
- Inflatable & Semi Rigid Inflatable Boats
- Banana Boats and Parasailing Facilities
- Go-Fast boats, and,
- Kayaks, Paddleboards & Canoes
Boating injuries occur due to many different events. Many people think that because they were injured on the water, they have assumed all risks associated with the activity. This is not true. Even if you have signed a waiver or release at a rental facility, many are unenforceable due to the circumstances surrounding the rental.
Persons injured due to the negligence of a boat operator may be entitled to compensation or damages including payment of medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering or wrongful death of a loved one.
The law controlling your claim and potentially your damages depends on your status on the vessel, including whether you were employed by, or were a guest of, the vessel owner. It is critical that you employ an experienced and skilled boat accident attorney if you or a loved one were involved in a boating or personal watercraft accident. Maritime law is very different than general personal injury law, with different rules regarding the jurisdiction, pleadings and damages.
The South Carolina and Georgia boat and watercraft accident attorney at Hammack Law Firm, Paul Hammack, has the experience to fight for your rights and the skill and knowledge to obtain the recovery you deserve.
For some reason, there is a tendency in our culture to think of boats as somehow less dangerous than cars or other vehicles. Perhaps it’s because waterways don’t look as treacherous as roadways, or maybe because we just don’t hear as much about boating accidents in the media.
The truth, however, is that boats are every bit as dangerous as cars, and sometimes even more so.
Boat accidents cause serious bodily injury, property damage, and emotional distress. They can even claim lives.
If you have been injured while near or aboard a boat in South Carolina or Georgia, you need someone to help guide you through the process.
Greenville boating accident attorney Paul Hammack has extensive experience as a personal injury litigator on both sides of the courtroom. He’s represented injured plaintiffs and insurance defendants alike, and he’s ready to put that experience to work for you.
Hammack Law Firm is one of the only upstate South Carolina personal injury law firms with extensive experience in both accident claims and insurance defense. There are only a handful of experienced Maritime and Admiralty in the upstate of South Carolina and northern Georgia. We believe that uniquely positions us to make a real different in the outcome of your case. Please contact us today.
Boat Accident Litigation Is Legally Complex
Boating accidents involve highly specific bodies of law. Depending on the nature of your accident and where it happened, your lawyer may need to invoke your rights under local, state, federal, and/or international admiralty law.
Of course, the general principles of personal injury matter too, but it’s important that you not settle for an attorney whose experience is limited to more traditional, straightforward injury claims. Boat accident cases benefit from experienced and strategic guidance. You can count on that with help from a Greenville boating accident attorney at the Hammack Law Firm.
Who to Sue?
In addition to their jurisdictional complexities, boating accidents are complicated because there are so many potential defendants. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, we may seek compensation from:
- Negligent boaters
- The boat manufacturer
- Marina owners
- Boat tour companies
- The party responsible for renting, selling, or leasing your boat to you
- Insurance companies
- Government Entities
- Any other relevant parties
The Problem of Intoxication
The consumption of alcohol is especially prevalent in recreational boating. For many, especially those on vacation, a boat and a case of beer make for the perfect weekend. Sadly, these people fail to appreciate the very real dangers of drinking while boating. Everyone wants to have a good time, but operating a boat while under the influence can have very serious implications.
There is never an excuse for operating a boat while impaired by alcohol. A Greenville boating accident attorney in our office can help you determine if alcohol might have played a part in your accident and then hold the at-fault parties accountable. You may even be entitled to punitive damages.
Specific Risks in South Carolina Boat Accidents
In addition to all of the usual auto accident injuries, boat accidents pose certain additional risks. These include:
- Man overboard
- Slip and fall (due to slippery boat decks)
- Tripping hazards on the deck
- Propeller injuries
- Boat-to-boat collision
- Sandbar collisions
- Collisions with docks or piers
- “Jet ski” accidents (i.e. personal watercraft accidents)
- Falling from the bridge or second level of a boat or a ladder
- Inclement weather
- Rough or choppy seas
- Dangerous wake
- Boat fires
- Injuries related to objects hidden beneath the surface
- Boat defects
- Life jacket / safety gear defects
- Injuries related to water skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, or other water sports
The most frequent situations of where a vessel operator may be negligent and responsible for an injury to a third party include:
- Failure of the rental facility to provide adequate instruction or safety gear
- Hitting a big wave or wake at an unsafe speed or angle
- Ejection from the vessel due to improper operation, striking a submerged object or rough conditions
- Contact with propellers or other sharp areas of the boat
- Operating at a high speed too fast for conditions
- Failing to keep a proper lookout
- Running into fixed objects such as docks, bridges or piers
- Not knowing or failure to follow the navigational rules
- Collisions with other watercraft
- Defective vessel design
- Defective vessel construction or repair, and
- Vessel Overcrowding & Overloading
Free Consultation with an Experienced Greenville Boating Accident Attorney
If you’ve suffered an injury while boating or operating a watercraft, we can help. Hammack Law Firm is proud to offer a Client Bill of Rights, which promises a 30-day unconditional satisfaction guarantee — no costs, no fees.
To begin moving forward, please contact us online or just call 864-326-3333. We’ll put you in touch with a Greenville auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Hammack Law Firm. Because you matter.