Last month on the Northeast Cape Fear River two john boats collided, ripping one of the boats to pieces. One woman died and another man, who was later determined to be her boyfriend and father of her children, was severely injured. The man was recently charged with involuntary manslaughter due to his impairment while driving the boat. Reports indicate that he had drugs in his system and a blood alcohol level of .09 two hours after the accident.
North Carolina has made it illegal to boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You cannot operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or greater. Violation of the law carries a misdemeanor punishment that can include up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. Skiing and surfing while impaired is also illegal. By making it a crime to operate a boat, ski, or surf while impaired, the North Carolina legislature has made it clear that people who participate in these activities owe a duty to others to perform them safely. Failure to live up to this duty creates liability for the owner or operator of the boat, and they can be responsible for the damages the injured or deceased loved one’s family incurs.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission published a set of findings for the Boating Accidents and Fatalities of 2012. 151 boating accidents were reported, with 23 of those accidents listed as fatal. 95 total vessels were involved, and 96 people required medical attention. Different activities were occurring when the fatal accidents took place, including changing speed, changing direction, fishing, drifting and cruising. Cruising and maneuvering were the top two activities for non-fatal accidents. Operator inattention was the number one cause of non-fatal accident, with careless/recklessness listed as the 3rd cause. Almost half of the fatal and non-fatal accidents involved people who had no education in boating safety. This data highlights the contributing factors to boat accidents, and provides some incentive to put cautionary measures in place to avoid collisions and injury.
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, which means that if the person filing the suit is negligent in any way – even as little as 1% at fault – they can be barred from recovery. Thorough evidence obtained quickly after the boating accident can help prevent any counterclaims of contributory negligence. Evidence located at water-related accidents can easily deteriorate, and quickly securing objects, names of witnesses, and photographs of the area can greatly aid a boating accident negligence case.
The North Carolina boating accident attorneys at Auger & Auger are experienced personal injury lawyers who are familiar with the intricacies of maritime and admiralty law. Both Herbert and Arlene Auger are avid boaters and certified scuba divers. They have a deeper understanding of boating and water-related activities, and how they intersect with the law. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, contact the experienced lawyers of Auger & Auger today at 888-487-0835.
More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Summer Vacation Activities May Lead to Whiplash Injuries, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2013
North Carolina Court of Appeals Backs Injured Worker’s Award of Temporary Total Disability, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2013