Our North Carolina personal injury client lived in Virginia but suffered several severe injuries when the charter fishing boat on which he was a passenger ran aground in the Oregon Inlet. The injured man received emergency medical treatment for broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung, a broken nose, fractured teeth and other cuts and bruises at a hospital on the Outer Banks before being transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for multiple surgeries.
U.S. Coast Guard investigators determined that the charter boat captain acted negligently in venturing out of the marked Walter Slough channel. Our client’s injuries were so extensive because he was below deck at the time of the grounding. The man was thrown around in a small space.
Key Legal Strategy
The fishing charter company carried boat insurance that provided coverage for bodily injuries. Accessing that coverage on behalf of our North Carolina personal injury client required presenting proof of all of the following:
- The boat captain was employed by the charter company and, therefore, covered by the company’s insurance policy;
- The captain was responsible for running the boat aground;
- Other captains operating the same type of vessel under similar conditions would not have run aground unless they acted negligently;
- Our client suffered injuries as a direct result of the grounding; and
- Our client’s injuries required medical treatment that imposed expenses he would not have otherwise had to pay.
Obtaining the Coast Guard’s incident report allowed our North Carolina personal injury attorney to establish the captain’s fault. Other key evidence came from the injured man’s medical record and statements made by friends who had taken the charter fishing trip with him.
The insurance company agreed to settle our client’s claims for $150,000 before going to trial. In even better news, the injured man made a full recovery.
Crashes involving boats can be as serious as traffic accidents, and drowning is far from the only danger when people take to the water. Boat operators who stray from marked channels endanger themselves and everyone else onboard. When accidents do happen, responsible parties must be held accountable for paying injury victims’ medical bills and making other types of compensation.
Staff: Staff attorney