Boating accidents are quite common on the waterways around New Bern, NC. Boating accidents fall into a category of their own when personal injury claims are being evaluated. There are multiple scenarios in which boat accidents can occur, and all injury claims are assessed similarly to auto accidents and premises liability claims, involving the North Carolina contributory negligence laws. Accidents involving watercraft differ because they involve both personal property and water vehicle issues. Boating accidents are also typically very complicated because fault is still central to all claims, and determining what actually happened can be difficult. This means it is always advised to have an experienced and detail-oriented boating accident attorney representing the case when maximum damages are being pursued or when gross negligence is apparent with respect to the defendant’s actions or failure to act concerning a reasonable duty of care to the claimant.
While auto accidents occur on land and are investigated first by local law enforcement officials, accidents that happen on the waterways are typically investigated by North Carolina state water patrol police when the location is an inland waterway. Those that happen at sea are typically investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, which also means that federal law may govern rules violations in injury claims. Many boating accidents include the consumption of alcohol by both passengers and sometimes craft operators, which can be a central component of the investigation. Subsequently, any personal injury or wrongful death claims filed in the matter can be enhanced by potential punitive damage claims. While a boating accident attorney can conduct an independent investigation into the case, it can be extremely difficult to try to recreate the accident scene to attempt to establish what, exactly took place.
How Federal Law Can Apply
All accident injury claims are based on comparative negligence. North Carolina does not use comparative negligence law but instead applies the more restrictive contributory negligence law holding that anyone who has contributed to their own injury causation in any way is barred from compensatory legal actions. While this is consistent with the concept of personal responsibility, the extent to which insurance companies will go in defense of a claim is extensive and often very aggressive. Watercraft accidents are generally processed according to maritime law as opposed to common law, which holds that most injured parties are compensated and amounts then discounted by their own personal comparative negligence assignment from a jury in a trial. This means that where accident victims may be denied financial recovery in auto accident cases, they could well be in line for significant compensation following a boat accident injury.
Contact a North Carolina Boating Accident Attorney
It is rarely sensible to handle a boating accident injury personally regardless of the clear determination of fault for the defendant. Cases can be much more valuable than injured parties realize. Every percentage point of fault for the accident that a defending insurance provider can argue against the claimant can amount to a considerable portion of any settlement, and an experienced personal injury attorney will work diligently in reducing comparative negligence for their client while maximizing general damages for long-term impact or even wrongful death in deadly accident cases. Always call an experienced boat accident lawyer to maximize your opportunity for compensation.