South Carolina is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts. With its beautiful waterways and warm climate, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to the state to enjoy the open waters. However, accidents can happen, and when they do, it’s essential to know what steps to take to protect yourself and your loved ones. In this article, we’ll go over what you should do after a South Carolina boat accident, from gathering evidence to filing a claim.
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve been involved in a boat accident, your first priority should be seeking medical attention. Even if you feel like you’re okay, getting checked out by a medical professional is essential. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term effects. Additionally, a record of your injuries is crucial if you file a claim.
2. Document the Accident
After seeking medical attention, the next step is to document the accident. Take photos of the scene, including any damage to the boats involved, injuries sustained, and other relevant details. Additionally, take note of the weather conditions, the time of day, and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident.
3. Report the Accident
In South Carolina, boating accidents must be reported to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) if they result in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500. You can do this by filling out a Boating Accident Report Form, which can be found on the DNR’s website. However, even if the accident doesn’t meet these criteria, it’s still a good idea to report it to the authorities.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have boat insurance, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage. If you don’t have boat insurance, it’s still essential to contact your insurance company, as they may be able to provide coverage through other policies.
5. Hire an Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a boat accident resulting in serious injury or significant property damage, hiring an attorney is a good idea. An experienced boating accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. They can also help you understand the value of your case and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
6. File a Claim
You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured or your property has been damaged in a boat accident. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. To file a claim, you must submit a demand letter to the insurance company outlining your damages and the compensation you’re seeking. Your attorney can help you draft this letter and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Boating accidents can be traumatic and overwhelming, but staying calm and taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones is important. Seeking medical attention, documenting the accident, reporting it to the authorities, and contacting your insurance company are all critical steps in the aftermath of a boat accident.
If you’ve been seriously injured or your property has been significantly damaged, it’s essential to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. At the Law Offices of Wilkerson, Jones & Wilkerson, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to help you get the compensation you deserve! We have extensive experience representing boating accident victims in South Carolina. Get a free case evaluation today!