Wilmington Boating Accident Lawyer

Boating is a great way to spend the day. Nothing beats relaxing on the water with the sun and your skin.

Our attorneys have spent their lives on the water and have a deep understanding of marine safety. If you are involved in a boat accident, it is critical to hire an attorney who understands the nuances of maritime law and boating safety. Although measures are in place to keep boaters safe, there’s no saying what could happen when you’re out on the water, especially if people don’t obey the rules.

If you were injured in a boating accident, you deserve compensation. Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have years of experience with North Carolina personal injury cases. As former insurance defense lawyers, we know the other’s side playbook. We leverage our experience to ensure that every client we represent obtains the full and fair value of their claim. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team.

What are the Various Types of Boating Accidents?

Many types of accidents can occur when you are boating. These include the following:

  • Boating Collisions: These occur when two or more boats hit each other.
  • Collisions with Fixed Objects: Boats may collide with bridge structures, channel markers, buoys, floating objects, and sandbars. These collisions can result in boat passengers being thrown from the boat and severely injured.
  • Cruise Ship Accidents: There are a variety of accidents that can happen on a cruise ship. If you are injured on a cruise ship, the cruise company may owe you compensation.
  • Jet Ski Accidents: Jet skiing is a lot of fun but it’s also dangerous. If you were injured on a jet ski because someone was negligent in ensuring your safety, you may be able to sue for damages.
  • Shrimp and Fishing Boat Accidents: Boat owners of shrimping and fishing boats are required to provide a safe work environment for their crewmen. Failure to do so can result in an accident and the owner will be liable.
  • Marina and Dock Accidents: Not all boat accidents happen on the water. Workers and pedestrians may be injured on marina docks as well.
  • Towing Accidents: If one boat is towing another boat or vehicle, it must be properly attached. If it is not, the boat being towed could detach causing a hazardous situation in the water.
  • Propeller Accidents: Boat propellers have sharp blades that can cause lacerations, internal injuries, and dismemberment. They can injure people on the boat or in the water. Captains must always make sure the area around the propeller is clear before putting the boat in gear.
  • Overboard Accidents: Passengers who fall overboard can get run over by the boat. They may also drown.
  • Drowning Accidents: Drowning accidents can occur if a passenger is thrown from the boat due to a collision, rough sea conditions, or poor boat handling.
  • Slip and Falls: If a boat is being recklessly operated it could result in a passenger falling. In certain cases, the operator of the boat may be liable for your injuries.

What are Common Causes of Boating Accidents?

There are many reasons a boat accident might happen including the following:

  • Defective Boat Parts: Accidents can happen due to equipment failure. If an accident occurs because equipment breaks down, the boat manufacturer or mechanic may be responsible for the accident. If the boat is not seaworthy, the owner may also be liable.
  • Driving Impaired: As with any other vehicle, boat operators should not be driving intoxicated. Drinking and drugs impair judgment increasing the likelihood of an accident.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Boat operators must have a boating license which requires testing and exams. If the driver does not have the required experience and licensing, they become a danger to themselves and others.
  • Dangerous Behavior: Dangerous behavior on behalf of the driver or passengers can result in an accident. Drivers should be obeying boating rules and passengers should not be exhibiting behavior that increases the risk of an accident.
  • Hazardous Waters: Captains have a duty to make sure conditions are safe before taking passengers on the water. Hazardous conditions at sea such as storms and choppy waters can cause drivers to lose control of the boat.
  • Improper Loading: Boats may be carrying heavy cargo. If the cargo is not properly loaded, it can cause an imbalance and the boat may tip over.

What are North Carolina Boating Laws?

There are several North Carolina several boating laws that are meant to keep drivers and passengers safe. These are as follows:

  • You must be at least 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft. If you are a minor, you must be accompanied by someone at least 18 years old who is licensed to operate a personal watercraft.
  • The person operating the watercraft must hold an identification showing proof of age as well as a certification showing they have passed a boating safety course approved by the NASBLA and accepted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission or…
  • He or she must hold identification with proof of age as well as proof of completion of another boating safety education course in compliance with state laws.
  • Anyone 16 or older may operate a PWC with a motor of 10 hp or greater if he or she complies with vessel operating requirements.
  • Passengers under the age of 13 are required to wear a life vest when on a recreational vessel.

Additionally, here are some examples of illegal boating behavior:

  • Leaving a vessel where it will block access for others
  • Mooring or anchoring boats in unsafe locations
  • Using areas designated for launching, recovering, and parking of vessels for any other purpose
  • Operating a vessel at speeds greater than the ‘no wake’ speed
  • Possessing firearms in the access area
  • Operating the vessel in a manner that is considered to endanger life or property
  • Polluting boating grounds and waters
  • Failing to obey the rules of the boating area
  • Carrying more passengers on a boat than the US Coast Guard maximum capacity limit
  • Failing to possess basic safety equipment such as life vests, anchor, fire extinguisher and flares

Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys are the Best Choice for Your Wilmington, North Carolina Boating Accident

Boating accidents can lead to serious injuries. You need a reliable lawyer on your side.

Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have years of experience representing clients in boating accidents and personal injury cases in Wilmington, North Carolina, and surrounding areas. We are known for taking a customized approach that best suits the needs of the people we represent. We will fight to get you the best outcome possible.

Our experience as previous insurance defense lawyers will work in your favor. We understand exactly how insurance companies and their legal teams approach cases, which means that we know exactly how to counter them and work to get you a competitive settlement or verdict.

Don’t let drivers get away with exhibiting reckless behavior when they are operating a vessel. Contact Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation today. We will be there for you every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.


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Please call us at (910) 668-8067 regarding your personal injury case or complete the form below to get in touch with us. We do not charge a fee unless you receive compensation.

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