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The Basics of South Carolina Boat Accident Law

Whether you are injured in a boat accident while taking a pleasure cruise, working on a boat, or going for a swim, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Depending on where the accident occurred, one of two laws will apply: maritime law or South Carolina boat accident law.

Filing a Claim Under South Carolina Boat Accident Law

South Carolina boat accident law is a form of negligence law. This area of law applies to boat accidents that do not occur on waterways used for interstate or international commerce. For example, if you are injured while swimming or boating in a landlocked lake, then negligence law will apply.

Under South Carolina boat accident negligence law, you have only three years before the statute of limitations runs out. This means you should contact a South Carolina boat lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs.

It is also important to provide your attorney with as much documentation and information about the accident as possible. This could include photos of your injuries, photos of the scene of the accident, any official reports or logs that were made about the accident, and copies of your medical records and bills.

Your attorney will probably at first try to settle your case with the party that allegedly caused your injuries. This is because going to trial can be a lengthy and costly process.

If, however, you do end up going to trial, you will need to prove that the opposing party was negligent in order to win your case. Under South Carolinas negligence laws, you must prove that the other party had a duty to not cause you injury and that this duty was violated. You then have to prove that this violation of the duty is what caused your injuries. Last, you will need to prove that you suffered damages, such as medical costs or lost wages.

However, under South Carolina boat accident law, if your own carelessness factored into your accident, then the amount you can seek to recover will be reduced in direct proportion to your liability. This is called comparative negligence. Furthermore, your degree of responsibility must be less than or equal to that of other parties for you to recover any damages.

Under the states joint and several liability laws, any party that contributed to your injuries is liable for the full amount of damages.

Filing a Suit Under Maritime Law

If your accident occurred on a body of water used for interstate or international commerce, then South Carolina boat accident law will not apply. Instead, a special area of law known as maritime law will apply.

Maritime law can differ from state personal injury laws, so it is important for you to seek out the advice of a maritime personal injury lawyer.

This is especially true if you are injured while working on a vessel. State workers compensation laws do not apply to accidents where maritime law applies. Instead, a special law known as the Jones Act can provide injured workers with compensation.

To qualify for pay under the Jones Act, you must spend the majority of your time working on a ship that is in navigation on the sea or an interstate or international waterway. In addition, your injury must either be caused by unseaworthy conditions or negligence on the part of your employer.

Unseaworthy conditions are when the vessel, crew, or an appliance on the vessel is not reasonably fit for the task for which it is used. Example of unseaworthy conditions can include a broken part of the ship or a crew that has received poor training.

Employer negligence is when the employers careless actions caused the injury. Examples of such careless actions include disobeying safety guidelines, providing inadequate equipment for a task, and failing to provide adequate medical treatment after an injury occurs.