South Carolina Boating Laws, Accident Liability, and the Statute of Limitations to File a Claim
With approximately 187 miles of shoreline, it’s no surprise boating is so popular in South Carolina. Unfortunately, anywhere water activities are a common pastime, there are bound to be accidents. In fact, in 2017 alone there were 163 boating accidents and 15 fatalities in South Carolina. To bring these numbers down, boat operators need to follow boating laws and safety precautions to protect themselves, their passengers, and others around them. If they don’t and an accident occurs, injured parties have a right to seek compensation.
A Breakdown of South Carolina Boating Laws
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has set boating guidelines and regulations to protect people while on the water. When these laws are broken, the operator of a boat could face penalties such as fines or the revocation of their boating license. Some of the primary regulations include:
- A boat operator can’t exceed idle speed within 50 feet of an anchored vessel, dock, wharf, pier, or person in the water. They must not exceed idle speed within 100 yards of the coastline.
- Each boat must contain a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable personal floatation device (PFD) for every person on board.
- A boat operator must use navigational lights between sunset and sunrise.
- Flares are required on boats operated in coastal waters.
- A boat operator involved in an accident must report to the Department of Natural Resources if the accident results in loss of consciousness, loss of life, disability, or medical treatment.
- Boating under the influence (BUI) is prohibited. Depending on their boating record, violators can be subject to fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.
If an accident occurs due to a boat operator’s negligence, reckless behavior, or failure to comply with safety regulations, injured parties can file a personal injury claim against them. They’ll need to work with an experienced boat accident lawyer to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Each state has limits on how much time can pass before a person files an injury claim. Section 5-3-530 of the South Carolina Code of Laws states the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the day the injury happened. If a person fails to file the claim within the given period time, there’s a good chance the civil courts will decline to hear the case.
If you’re planning on filing a personal injury claim against a negligent boat operator, it’s important you provide your attorney with as much information surrounding the accident as possible. This includes photos, a police report, witness information, and medical records. They’ll evaluate the details of the accident along with your injuries and determine the best course of action to recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact A South Carolina Boat Accident Attorney
Don’t let the negligence of a boat operator compromise your future well-being. Let an experienced personal injury attorney protect your rights so you’re not buried under medical bills. The boat accident lawyers at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson have the experience and know-how to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at (803) 324-7200 for a free case evaluation.