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Boating Accidents in NC Results in Injuries, Death & Criminal Charges

Brandon Evans   |  July 6, 2015   |  

A 17-year old was killed while kneeboarding on Lake Normal on Lake Normal around 9pm Saturday when she was struck by a motorboat, according to WRAL.  The operator of the boat has been charged with driving while intoxicated, and authorities indicate other charges may be forthcoming.

In another incident, two people were killed in a boating collision in Mountain Island, near Charlotte around 1am Sunday according to ABC11.  In that incident, the individuals were riding on a boat that collided with rocks.

Victims of personal injuries occurring as a result of watercraft need attorneys experienced in handling such claims.  While North Carolina laws apply to such claims, often federal issues apply as well if the watercraft was operating (or even intended to operate) on federal waterways or protected wetlands.  But even more importantly, finding applicable insurance coverage or assets can be a challenge.  Many watercraft do not carry applicable liability insurance, or often, as in cases of serious injury or death, the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the losses.  Homeowners insurance coverage may apply, but will often initially deny coverage based on personal watercraft exclusions.  Other times, other exclusions may be claimed.  For example, insurers may claim the operator of the watercraft was operating the vehicle without permission.  This can happen often in cases of drunk operators.   In such cases, it may be necessary to pursue a suit and obtain a judgment against the operator of the watercraft, and/or the owner of the watercraft.  Then after obtaining the judgment, the next issue becomes executing on the judgment, meaning finding assets to collect upon.

Many families of persons seriously injured in such accidents prefer to seek personal judgments against owners and operators in order to make them take responsibility for their actions, feeling that only by targeting them directly, and not their insurance, can justice be gotten.  At Riddle and Brantley, we have several experienced boating accident attorneys who have dealt with these issues before.