North Carolina is a coastal state and a popular destination for residents and tourists looking to enjoy these recreational opportunities. There are more than 30 lakes in the region and hundreds of miles of waterways as well as over 300 miles of coastline. With a temperate climate year-round, there are almost always people enjoying boating and other water sports in North Carolina. As much as this makes the state a fabulous place to live or visit, it also creates multiple opportunities for serious accidents. If a boat operator fails to use appropriate care and skill when navigating his or her vessel in a waterway, passengers, nearby swimmers, and other boaters may suffer life-changing injuries. Similar to people involved in car accidents, the victims of a boating accident can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity that caused them to suffer harm. At the Olsinski Law Firm, our Concord and Charlotte boating accident lawyers have counseled victims and their families throughout North Carolina. Let us help you claim the settlement or the judgment that you deserve.Determining Boating Accident Liability in North Carolina
If you suffer injuries in a boating accident, the individual who caused the crash to happen can be held liable for your injuries and damages. Figuring out who caused the accident to happen can be difficult, especially if it happens in open water or at high speeds. If there are eyewitnesses, they can testify about the events that led up to the accident. There are many causes of boating accidents, including failing to abide by traffic laws on the water, excessive speeding, failing to pay adequate attention while underway, and intoxication. A boat operator may fail to steer the vessel appropriately, causing it to collide with a fixed object or a swimmer in the water. These situations can also be complicated when inclement weather or rough water is involved.
Once you determine who caused the accident, it is important to explore whether any insurance policies may provide coverage for the damages that you have sustained. A seasoned boating accident attorney in Charlotte or Concord can help you negotiate with insurance companies and ensure that they treat you fairly according to the terms of your policy.
In some instances, the at-fault party may be willing to settle the dispute before a lawsuit is filed. This can save both time and resources, but it is important to ensure that the settlement is fair and that it provides you with the compensation that you will need to cover any ongoing medical care costs and lost earning capacity. If a settlement is not possible, you can file a personal injury claim against the defendant. In this lawsuit, there are a few elements that you will need to establish before you will be deemed entitled to compensation. First, your Concord or Charlotte boating accident attorney must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care and failed to act according to that duty. Similar to drivers of cars or trucks, boat operators must operate their vessels with reasonable care and skill, abiding by all boating laws, driving at a safe speed, and being vigilant for other boaters, swimmers, and fixed objects. Speeding and intoxicated boating are two of the most common situations in which boating operators fail to act with appropriate care.
Next, you will need to prove that the defendant’s failure to act according to this standard was the cause of the injuries that you sustained. North Carolina has adopted the pure contributory negligence approach to personal injury lawsuits, which bars a plaintiff from recovering compensation if he or she was also negligent to any degree at the time of the accident. In the last phase of the litigation, you will need to offer documentation showing the amount of damages that you sustained in the accident. This can include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and pain and suffering.Meet with a Diligent Boating Accident Lawyer in Charlotte or Concord
Boating accidents are traumatic and can leave a victim with painful injuries and potentially permanent disabilities. At the Olsinski Law Firm, our team of compassionate legal professionals can ensure that you receive the responsive counsel that you deserve. You probably have questions about whether you are entitled to compensation and how we can assist you. We offer a free consultation* and serve clients throughout Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, including in Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, Midland, and Mount Pleasant. Call us at either of our office locations to set up your free consultation*: Charlotte at 704-405-2580 or Concord at 704-918-4747.