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North Carolina is a state with lakes and rivers aplenty, along with a beautiful coastline inviting boaters, swimmers and jet skiers to enjoy time out on the water. However, along with the joys of boating come dangers, most often caused by reckless or inexperienced boat operators.

Without knowing what dangers to look out for, what rules apply while out on the water, how many people a single boat can carry or how to react in an emergency situation, an inexperienced boater may pose a serious threat to everyone aboard the vehicle—as well as anyone else in the vicinity.

If you or someone you love was injured in a boating accident anywhere in the state, a Raleigh boat accident lawyer at our law firm may be able to help. It is important to hire an attorney with prior experience in dealing with boating accidents. Federal laws in addition to North Carolina State law may apply in a boating accident.

What to Do if Involved in a Raleigh Boating Accident?

  • Anytime people have been involved in a boat accident, they are required by law to stop and to give assistance to other operators, passengers or vessels (unless doing so would put them in danger).
  • After an accident, it is important that boat operators remain calm and exchange information with other boat operators and witnesses.
  • If a boat accident leads to the disappearance or death of a person, people must contact the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission as soon as possible.
  • People must complete and submit a boating accident report when:  the accident results in the death or disappearance of another person, property damage is greater than $2,000 or a person requires medical treatment beyond basic first aid.
  • All reports of deaths or disappearances must be made to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission within 48 hours of the accident.
  • All reports in other types of boat accident cases must be made within 10 days of the accident.

With offices located across the state, The Whitley Law Firm represents clients throughout North Carolina who have been injured in boat accidents. If you’d like to get more information about your case and what we can do to help you, we welcome you to undergo a free consultation with a Raleigh boat accident lawyer at our law offices. Your initial case evaluation is free and strictly confidential.

Who is at Fault?

In North Carolina, if you’re hurt in a car, the defense of contributory negligence would apply in that if the other side defending the action can prove that you contributed to the accident even 1%, there would not be any recovery.  In a boating accident, because federal law would apply, comparative fault would apply.  Comparative fault means that if you contributed at all to the accident your award would be reduced by the percentage you were found at fault.  The main difference in a boating accident is that the federal maritime laws would most likely apply in the case.

Were you injured from another boat’s wake?

If a boat strikes against the wake or wave created by another boat, this can cause people to be ejected from the boat. In such accidents, it can be tricky determining which boat operator could be to blame. Depending on the details of your case, it could be your boat operator’s fault, for not avoiding the other boat’s wake, or it could be the other operator’s fault if they were in a no-wake zone, or if they created the wake by driving recklessly.

Did your boat strike a rock or land?

Such accidents are possible under any conditions. When an operator carefully follows the charts for that region, he or she can hardly be faulted for such an accident. A careless operator who goes at reckless speeds, particularly when visibility is poor, could be on the hook for any damages sustained by injured passengers.

Was there no safety equipment aboard the vessel?

If there are no life jackets, life rings, flares, fire extinguishers, loud whistles, etc., then a boat owner could be faulted for any injuries or perils that result from this lack of basic safety precautions.

What Can I Do to Seek Compensation?

By law, in situations where someone was responsible for causing a boating accident, this may give a victim grounds to seek justice and financial damages for the injuries he or she has sustained. When you work with a Raleigh boating accident attorney at our firm, we will work to help you recover damages for medical bills, property damage and any other losses you have experienced. It will be important for us to determine what caused your accident so we can hold the proper party responsible.