Summer and warm weather mean that North Carolina residents and guests from out of state will be hitting the beaches and waterways. With several thousand miles of navigable waters, NC boasts one of the nations premier spots for recreational boating. That is why it is important to understand what rights you have if your are injured by or are the source of a boating accident in North Carolina.
Types of Boating Accidents
Boating accidents are unique in that they do not have to include a collision. Often, a boating accident only involves the parties riding in the same vessel. This could be due to the driver operating the vessel in an unsafe manner.
- Collision with another vessel, dock, bridge, buoys, rocks, fallen trees, sunken logs, etc.
- Running aground
- Riders falling or being tossed overboard
- Fires and Explosions
- Striking swimmers and skiers
- Skiing accidents or failing to look over a guest skier or tuber while towing
Common Problems that Can Lead to Boating Accidents
- Operation of vessel at unsafe speeds
- Poor judgment/errors by operator
- Lack of experience/training by operator
- Defective boat components or equipment
- Improper maintenance
- Alcohol or the consumption of drugs and medication
- Hitting waves or wake improperly
- Overloading the vessel
Questions to Ask Regarding Your Boating Accident
After your accident it is important to take note of every detail to help with your case.
The following are common questions that are typical for most cases:
- Was the boat operator intoxicated during the accident?
- Was the vessel being operated at speeds that were unsafe for the conditions and circumstance?
- Was the following standard boating procedure for passing, overtaking and crossing paths with another vessel?
North Carolina Boating Rules
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources commission has several reference guides to help you boat more safely. The resources can be viewed under the boating section for laws and rules on the water.
A few of the most important rules that an NC boater can follow are:
- Every boat operator has the duty and obligation to avoid an accident or collision by take whatever action is reasonably necessary
- When your vessel is overtaken by a faster vessel moving in the same direction, you must maintain speed and course.
- When a faster vessel is overtaking a slower vessel moving in the same direction, the faster vessel must keep a safe distance to avoid collision or endangering the other craft with its wake
It is required by the State of North Carolina that boating accidents that meet certain criteria be reported to the NC Wildlife Resource Commission.
Boating accidents on public waters must be reported if it results in:
- Loss of life
- Injuries requiring medical treatment occur
- A person is disabled or unconscious for 24 hours
- Physical property damages (vessels, docks, seawalls, etc.) exceed $2,000
- A person disappears from the vessel – circumstances indicate that death or injury has occurred
Reports that result in death, disappearances or injuries must be submitted within the first 48 hours of the occurrence, otherwise there is a grace period of 10 days. If the operator fails to submit a report, then the duty defaults to the vessel owner.
Failing to report an official boating accident report could result in legal issues.
As a Defendant of a North Carolina Boating Accident Case
Various factors could be in play to determine fault. Improper maintenance of a vessel can lead to mechanical failures causing injury or death. Alcohol and drug usage are often at play, and you may be subject to the same scrutiny for DWI as if you were operating a car or truck. If you have been cited “at fault” for a boating accident, experienced legal consul is necessary to reduce the liability you may be facing.
Have Been Injured in a Boating Accident in North Carolina?
Do not let the injuries you sustain in a boating accident go without restitution. Due to the lack of protection in boats and other water craft, injuries are often very substantial. Often, since skiing and tubing are associated as a family activity, children are present when injuries from these activities arise. It is important that you seek an experienced Raleigh personal injury attorney for your boating accident case.
Speak with an Experienced Raleigh Personal Injury Attorney about Your Boat Accident
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