The Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC, based in Charleston County, South Carolina, handles boat accident injury cases throughout the state, and encourages you to call the firm if you or your loved ones have been injured in a boating or maritime accident.

Such accidents can and often do cause serious injuries. Joe Griffith is a personal injury attorney with extensive experience with these often major, life altering events. He will work to determine the details of your boating accident. He understand the law about boat crash injuries, ship wrecks, insurance laws, medical issues, employment related issues and more.

Boating is a major form of recreation and sport in South Carolina, with nearly 300,000 registered boats in the state. Fishing trips, diving expeditions, water skiing, jet skiing, a weeklong cruise on a luxury ship – boats are supposed to be fun, recreational vehicles for you and your family to enjoy. However, thousands of people are injured or killed in boating wrecks each year.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2004, there were 4,904 recreational boating accidents reported in the United States, which resulted in 676 fatalities, 3,363 injuries and $35,038,306 in property damage. Overall, carelessness or reckless operation, operator inattention, operator inexperience and excessive speed are the leading contributing factors of all reported boating accidents.

Boat accidents have occurred on South Carolina Lakes Murray, Thurmond, Wateree, Keowee, Moultrie, Greenwood, Jocassee, Marion, Russell, Hartwell, and Wylie, and on South Carolina Rivers Ashley, Ashepoo, Beaufort, Black, Broad, Catawba, Combahee, Congaree, Cooper, Coosaw, Coosawhatchee, Edisto, Folly, Great Pee Dee, Kiawah, Little Pee Dee, Little, May, Morgan, New, Rediversion Canal, Saluda, Sampit, Santee, Savannah, Stono, Waccamaw, Wando, and Wateree, in bays and harbors such as Charleston Harbor, Murrells Inlet, Winyah Bay, Bulls Bay, Calibogue Sound, St. Helena Sound, Port Royal Sound, Georgetown Harbor, and Savannah Harbor, as well as the Intercoastal or Intracoastal Waterways and the Atlantic Ocean.

Boating accidents include capsizing, falls overboard, collisions, sinking/flooding, explosions, disappearance and fire. The most reported type of accident was a collision with another vessel. However, capsizing and falls overboard are the most reported types of fatal accidents and account for over half of all boating fatalities.

When there is a boating accident, a report must be filed when:

  • A life is lost due to the accident.
  • Someone is injured and requires medical attention beyond first aid.
  • There is damage by or to the vessel and other property.
  • Any person on board a vessel disappears (under circumstances indicating possible death or injury).

Reports must be filed within:

  • 48 hours of the occurrence if a person dies within one day (24 hours of the accident).
  • 48 hours if a person is injured and medical treatment beyond first aid is required.
  • 10 days if there is only damage to the vessel and/or property.

Boat accidents are governed by a number of city, county, state and/or federal laws. Boat operators have a legal obligation to operate their watercraft in a safe manner. If they do not, there may be criminal charges, and the people who were injured may be entitled to sue for damages. Boat owners also need to be careful about allowing other people to drive their boats. No matter who is driving, if the boat is in an accident, the boat owner may be liable for the damages.

Failure to remain on the scene, provide aid and report the accident in a timely manner is a crime. You should also report the incident to your insurance company. This is a requirement if a state or federal report was made.

Accidents involving boats often result in very serious injuries. Although most are due to unintentional operator error, other factors may also play a part in causing boating accidents. Poorly designed boats and other boating equipment and negligent, dangerous drivers are responsible for causing some boating accidents.

Civil lawsuits are frequently filed against the manufacturer when some type of failure of either the boat's machinery or its hull caused an accident. Boat accident lawsuits also can result when a boat operator causes an injury while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or in some other negligent fashion.

If you have been injured in any kind of boat accident that was someone else’s fault, you have the right to be compensated for a wide range of damages, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injury and pain and suffering. In the event that a death has resulted from your accident, a wrongful death suit can be filed.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, here are some steps to take to prepare for a lawsuit:

  • See a doctor as soon as possible. Do not underestimate the injury from an accident. Back and neck injuries can be debilitating in the long term.
  • Get as much information as you can about your accident. Get the names, numbers and addresses of all people involved, including witnesses. You will also need to keep track of insurance information and the reporting process. Make copies.
  • Do not talk to anyone about your accident other than law enforcement officials. Anything you say to insurance company representatives or investigators could make it harder for you to settle your claim.
  • Do not sign anything, especially a release form, without first talking to an attorney.
  • Contact a boating accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may have a limited amount of time in which you can file a boating accident lawsuit. A competent boating accident lawyer can make sure everything gets done right.

Personal Injury Attorney Joe Griffith has the experience to help boating accident victims in South Carolina receive the fair compensation they deserve. JGLF will investigate the facts, assess your claim, determine which parties and insurance companies are to be held responsible, organize all of the details of your case and pursue it vigorously in settlement negotiations or at trial. Joe Griffith dedicated to his profession, and his clients. He stands ready and capable to provide his clients the highest caliber of professional service, with a personal touch and a friendly attitude.

Call JGLF today, at 843-CALL-JOE (843-225-5563), or contact the firm via the online form.

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Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC (sometimes "JGLF") exclusively practices litigation, led by top rated trial attorney Joseph P. Griffith, Jr., a former federal prosecutor. Located at 946 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, Mt Pleasant, S.C., Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC handles cases in South Carolina and, on a select basis, nationwide.

Joseph P. Griffith, Jr. is responsible for this website.”