Boat Accidents

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When you say wonderful caring and helpful you have to think of the Steinberg Law Family. - Brandy

Boat Accidents

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When you say wonderful caring and helpful you have to think of the Steinberg Law Family. - Brandy

Getting Results


Boat Accident Case

Charleston South Carolina Boat Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you have the right to pursue a case against the party or parties responsible for your injuries.

For a free case review, call us at 843-720-2800.

Representing Injured People Since 1927

A Team on Your Side

Attorneys for Injured Victims of Boating Accidents in South Carolina

Charleston is known as an excellent spot for outdoor recreation, especially boating. There are over 560,000 registered boats in South Carolina. With so many boats on the water, Charleston boat accidents are an unfortunate reality. Boat accidents can lead to serious, life-changing injuries. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you have the right to pursue a case against the party or parties responsible for your injuries.

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You can trust our clients:

The people are thoughtful and professional. Questions and concerns always get answered and concerns are taken care of. If I ever need an attorney, I will definitely use Steinburg Law Firm. Thank you all at Steinburg for a good experience and showing me that you care about your clients. - Joan

Answering Your Questions

Assessing liability for a personal injury claim is not always as simple as it may seem for an accident victim.

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Who is liable for my damages?

In some cases, the person directly responsible for the accident is clear. In others, product manufacturers, property owners and others not directly involved in the accident may have been instrumental in its cause and, subsequently, any resulting injuries. In these cases, additional parties may be proven negligent and held responsible for resulting damages. An experienced attorney can help you determine who was liable in your case and held them accountable for your injuries.

Causes of Boat Accidents in Charleston

Boat accidents are frequently the result of common mistakes. While boat accidents are common, they are also almost always avoidable.

Common Boating Mistakes
  • Failing to navigate large waves or wakes properly
  • Heading out on the water during inclement weather
  • Coming in contact with the propeller
  • Lack of safety equipment on board
  • Overloading the boat with too many passengers or too much gear
  • Operating the boat recklessly or dangerously
Leading Causes of Accidents

The United States Coast guard reports that the leading causes of boat accidents are:

  • Distracted and inattentive operators
  • Drivers failing to keep a lookout
  • Inexperienced operators
  • Traveling at an excessive speed
  • Alcohol use while boating
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Tracking Boat Accidents in South Carolina

Alcohol and Inexperience

The most recent data from the Coast Guard indicated that alcohol use is involved in almost a quarter of all boating accidents.

Not surprisingly, boat operators under the influence of alcohol are less likely to pay attention to what lies ahead of them and are prone to engaging in other dangerous behaviors, such as speeding or reckless operation of the boat.

Operator inexperience is another factor that is often cited as a contributing cause of Charleston boat accidents. Inexperienced boaters are responsible for nearly 70 percent of all boating accidents. Amateur operators are less likely to understand boating rules and etiquette and may lack the experience necessary to avoid what would otherwise be an avoidable accident.

Boat Accident Statistics

South Carolina has 460,000 acres of lakes, 8,000 miles of river and 3,000 miles of coastline.

According to the United States Coast Guard, which tracks all boat accidents in the country, there were more than 4,100 boat accidents in 2019, resulting in over 2,500 injuries and 600 deaths. In South Carolina, specifically, there were over 140 boat accidents in 2019. These accidents claimed 15 lives and seriously injured dozens more.

Data from the United States Coast Guard shows that 79 percent of all boating fatalities were related to drowning, and 86 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Free Boat Accident Consultations

In the aftermath of an injury-causing accident, there are numerous damages for which you may seek compensation.

We understand injuries can prevent you from supporting you and your family, and we have the legal knowledge and skill to help you pursue financial compensation from the person responsible for your unnecessary pain and suffering. If you have been the victim of such an accident in or around Charleston, our attorneys are ready to help you understand the scope of your legal options.

Damages in Charleston, S.C. Boat Accident Cases

In the aftermath of a boat accident, you are likely dealing with many expenses you would not otherwise have faced. Hospital bills, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, missed work, not to mention the non-economic impact that the accident had on your life. If you were injured in a South Carolina boating accident, you could bring a personal injury claim against the party or parties responsible for your injuries.

If you are successful in bringing a claim, you can recover for both economic and non-economic damages you incurred as a result of the accident. While every case is unique, and the amount of available damages depends on the type of accident and the nature of your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Any future medical costs
  • Lost wages due to missed work
  • Any decrease in your ability to earn an income due to your injuries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical impairment or disability

Working with an experienced South Carolina boat accident lawyer is imperative to obtaining fair compensation after an accident. Insurance companies that handle these claims are often unwilling to offer fair settlement offers to accident victims. With the assistance of an attorney, you can be sure to establish the severity of your injuries, as well as the impact the accident had on your life.

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$3.15 Million

Personal Injury Case

With so many boats on the water, Charleston boat accidents are an unfortunate reality. Boat accidents can lead to serious, life-changing injuries. Boat accidents often involve high speeds, and many Charleston boat accidents result in physical injuries related to passengers colliding into objects within the boat or being thrown from the boat. Some of the most common types of South Carolina boating accident injuries include:

Common Injuries in Charleston Boat Accidents

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are the most serious and most frequently seen non-fatal boat accident injuries. In addition to brain injuries caused by physical trauma, remaining submerged underwater for an extended time can also cause brain damage. The following brain injuries are common after a boat accident:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Penetrating injuries (open head injuries)
  • Contusions (bruises on the brain)
  • Hypoxic-anoxic injuries

In some cases, the presence of a brain injury after a boating accident is immediately apparent. However, in others, the symptoms go unnoticed for days, weeks or months before the damage progresses into something more serious. That is why anyone involved in a boat accident must obtain prompt medical attention to determine whether the accident caused any long-term damage.

Neck Injuries

Boat accidents, especially those involving high speeds, can place an incredible amount of force on the neck. Neck injuries are most commonly the result of the head getting jerked from side to side or front to back. When this occurs, the soft tissues surrounding the neck can sustain severe damage. Whiplash is perhaps the most common boat-accident-related neck injury. The symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Ringing in the ears
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Back Injuries

Back injuries are common in South Carolina boat accidents. Just like in a car accident, the back can end up taking the brunt of the impact in a boat accident. There are several types of back injuries, including:

  • Vertebral fractures
  • Strains and sprains
  • Herniated, slipped or ruptured discs

Depending on the type of injury and its seriousness, back injuries can cause a lifetime of lingering pain and physical limitations. However, obtaining prompt medical treatment can significantly increase the chances of a full recovery.

Spine Injuries

The spinal cord is responsible for carrying nerve signals from the brain throughout the body and is one of the most critical organs in the human body. The spine does a good job protecting the spinal cord most of the time; however, during periods of severe trauma, the small bones that make up the spinal column can break, placing pressure on the spinal cord. This can result in pinched nerves or even permanent paralysis.

Lacerations and Amputations

In many boating accidents, passengers are thrown overboard. This puts them at risk of coming into contact with the boat’s propeller, which may still be running. Propellers spin at a rate of more than 4,500 revolutions per minute and can cause severe injury. In 2019, there were more than 170 propeller-related boating accidents. In the most severe cases, the propeller can pull a boater underwater, not only causing severe physical damage but also significantly increasing the risk of drowning.


On average, about 13 percent of all boating accidents are fatal. By far, the most common cause of boating-related death is drowning; however, there are often other contributing factors involved, such as physical trauma that renders a boater incapacitated and unable to swim. More than half of all fatal boating accidents occur during the summer months, and most in the early-morning and late-night hours. Alcohol use, speeding, and failure to maintain a proper lookout are the leading causes of fatal boating accidents.

Slip and Falls

It can be challenging to keep your balance while aboard a moving boat. This is especially the case when the operator suddenly changes course or during periods of inclement weather. While passengers should take the necessary precautions to navigate the vessel safely, some slip and fall accidents cannot be avoided. While boat slip and fall accidents can cause serious injury on their own, the real risk is falling overboard. In 2019, more than 135 people died as a result of overboard accidents.


Not all incidents of drowning are fatal; however, many are. Non-fatal drowning injuries often involve permanent damage to the brain or other organs. Drowning is a risk in any boating accident, but it is increased when a boat passenger loses consciousness or suffers from another type of injury. Seventy-nine percent of all boating-related deaths involved drowning.

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What to Do Following a Boat Accident

Being trained and prepared is essential for boating safety.

Make sure more than one person knows how to handle and operate the boat, and understands general boating safety, in case you become incapacitated.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a South Carolina boat accident, you are undoubtedly dealing with a tremendous burden. Your life was suddenly turned upside down, and you may be looking for answers. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we are here to help. Following are steps to take in the event of a South Carolina boating accident.

Ensure Everyone's Safety

Ensure the Safety of All Passengers

The moments after a boating accident are chaotic and disorienting. The first thing to do is to keep everyone safe. While it may be tempting to search for missing boaters, doing so can put you and other passengers at risk. Call for assistance, so emergency medical responders with the proper training and equipment can conduct the rescue operation.

Report the Accident

Report the Accident

Once everyone on board the boat is safe, you should immediately report the accident. If possible, use the boat’s radio to request help. If the radio is unavailable, try to flag down nearby boaters. Even if another boater comes over to help, it is crucial to report the accident to the United States Coast Guard and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Reporting the accident will not only trigger an emergency response team to ensure everyone’s safety, but it will also create a record of the accident, which may be critical to the success of a lawsuit, should you choose to file one.

Document the Accident

Document the Accident

After a boating accident, gather any evidence and document the scene as best you can. Of course, your safety is paramount, and you should not put yourself or anyone else in danger to collect evidence.

Speak to any witnesses and obtain their contact information; this will help create a reliable history of the events leading up to the accident.

Contact an Attorney

Who Qualifies for Death Benefits?

In South Carolina, the following family members are conclusively presumed to be total dependents:

  • a spouse
  • a child under 18
  • a child under 23 who is a full-time student at an accredited school, and
  • a child of any age who is incapable of self-support due to a disability

Other people can also qualify as total or partial dependents, but only if they actually depended on the worker for financial support at least three months prior to the work accident.

Contact an Experienced Charleston Boat Accident Law Firm for Immediate Assistance

What Our Attorneys Can Do For You

If you were injured in a South Carolina boating accident, the experienced attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm can help. For decades, we have successfully represented clients in all types of personal injury cases, including boat accidents. Our attorneys understand the impact that a serious accident has on your and your family’s life and will do everything we can to ensure that you are fairly compensated for everything you have been through. When you are ready to talk to a lawyer about the boat accident that caused your back injuries, you can reach a Steinberg Law Firm attorney at 843-720-2800. You can also contact us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will get back to you shortly.

Let Us Handle the Insurance Companies

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a boat accident, we do not advise that you try to handle the insurance companies yourself. They have teams of lawyers, adjusters and investigators working against you to try to pay you as little as possible on your claim. Contact the boat accident lawyers at Steinberg Law Firm today.