Legal Options in North Carolina Boat Accidents

If you suffered personal injuries in a boat accident, North Carolina allows you to sue the party who was responsible for that accident. Regardless of whether or not you were a passenger on the boat whose operator caused the accident, another boat, or were a swimmer or “bystander” that was injured. The following are some frequent questions boat accident victims often have.

Who do I sue for my boat accident injuries?

There are several possible parties that a boat accident victim may file a lawsuit against. These include:

  • The owner of the vessel.
  • The owner of the object that the vessel you were on crashed into

How does a boat accident attorney prove negligence in a boat accident lawsuit?

Negligence occurs when a boat operator or owner failed to behave in the way a reasonable person would under the same set of circumstances. In order to prove negligent behavior, a boat accident attorney needs to prove:

  • The boat operator owed the victim a duty of care.
  • The boat operator breached that duty of care.
  • The breach resulted in injuries to the victim.
  • Those injuries resulted in financial damages and losses to the victim.

Proving a duty of care is a fairly easy concept for a North Carolina boat accident attorney to prove. The more difficult part is proving that the breach resulted in damages for the victim. Defenses to the allegation could include claims that the operator did all they could to avoid the boat accident, especially in situations where waves or weather may have been present at the time of the accident.

For example, the boat operator may claim that the accident was out of their control because there was a large wake that caused the accident. But the victim’s attorney may be able to show that the boat operator was speeding and driving recklessly and not the way a boat operator should maneuver the vessel in the area of a wake, thereby proving it was that recklessness that resulted in the boat accident.

Other factors which can prove the boat operator’s negligence include:

  • The boat operator broke the law.
  • There is a penalty in place when the law is broken.
  • Breaking the law resulted in harm to an individual, which is the very thing the law was put in place to stop.

One example of this would be if the boat operator was under the influence of alcohol when they crashed into a victim’s boat. Another example would be if the boat operator was operating their vessel at night but failed to turn the boat’s lights on and smashed into the victim’s boat.

In both of these examples, the boat operator was breaking the law – by boating and drinking and failing to turn the lights on – and as a result of their negligence, the accident happened just as the laws “predicted” if the laws were not followed. This is called a presumption of negligence and can be used by a personal injury lawyer to prove the boat operator’s liability.

Let Our Firm Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, contact a skilled North Carolina boating accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have for the injuries you have suffered. The legal team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been advocating for boating accident victims for more than three decades and is well-versed and experienced in North Carolina boating laws. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation and find out what legal options you may have.

Our firm also offers a free boating accident guide to victims who have sustained injuries in boating accidents. The guide covers topics such as whether or not a boating accident victim should pursue an injury claim, as well as boating accident laws, and insurance issues.