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Boating accidents can occur without warning and may have a devastating impact on the life of the victim and the victim’s family. Often these accidents are caused by intoxicated or negligent boat operators. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on the water, a Winston-Salem accident attorney can help you.

Boating Regulations

North Carolina’s boating regulations are applicable to public waters within the territorial limits of the state, the sea adjoining the state, and the high seas when plotting a course to or from North Carolina shores.

To ensure the safety of water enthusiasts, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission enforces those regulations, which are mandatory when operating a vessel that has 10 horsepower or more. Wildlife officers are authorized to stop boats to complete safety checks, confirm compliance with boating regulations, and conduct boating accident investigations. A boat accident lawyer in Winston-Salem, should be able to clarify and explain the local laws on this subject.

Boaters born after January 1, 1988, are required to successfully complete a boat safety education course that is instituted by the Wildlife Resources Commission, or a boating safety course that is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Alternatively, a vessel operator may successfully complete an equivalency test.

While there is no uniform speed limit on North Carolina waterways, vessel operators are required to limit themselves to a speed that is safe under the existing conditions. Operators are also prohibited from being reckless or negligent, which includes refraining from operating the vessel under the influence of impairing substances or with a blood alcohol level of.08 or higher, to ensure the safety of others on the water.

Anyone under the age of 13 is required to wear a life vest when a vessel is not anchored. Additionally, federal and state regulations require personal flotation devices be available for each passenger, regardless of age, that are both the appropriate size for the passenger and in good condition. 

Recoverable Damages in a Boat Accident

The victim of a boat accident is able to recover for losses following an accident, including medical expenses, if the injured person had no fault in the accident or the injury.

Since North Carolina follows a contributory negligence standard for all accidents involving motor vehicles, an injured person loses the right to recover compensatory damages if he or she contributed in causing the accident or the injury. Failing to comply with boating regulations, if related, may be deemed a contributing factor in an accident.   

How a Winston-Salem Boat Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you are injured in a boat accident, it is important to document the events surrounding the accident as soon as possible afterward. Your detailed description of the incident, a diagnosis from your medical provider, and all information provided by eye-witnesses to the accident are essential to your case. An experienced attorney will guide you through that process.

For favorable results, consult a Winston-Salem boat accident attorney that is experienced in handling cases involving boating accidents in North Carolina.