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Whalen Montalvo

Greenville Boating Accident Lawyer

Greenville, South Carolina, has beautiful waterways and excellent weather, making it ideal for residents and tourists to enjoy activities on the water. But things can quickly go wrong when engaging in water sports or lying leisurely on your boat. When boating accidents happen, those involved sustain injuries or die.

Thankfully, there are legal remedies boating accident victims can explore to get justice for the harm they suffered. Therefore, if you or a loved one are a victim of such an occurrence, contact the Greenville boating accident lawyers at Whalen Montalvo immediately at (864) 770-7710. Attorney Whalen will review the facts of your case and provide informed legal advice.

Why Should You Hire Attorney Whalen Montalvo?

Watercraft accidents are subject to state and federal regulations depending on where the accident occurred. If you are unaware of this and file your compensation claims under the wrong law, you will derail your case while the statute of limitations keeps counting. So, to avoid this, you need representation from boating accident lawyers in Greenville.

Getting compensation from the party responsible for your boating accident is your right, and it’s up to you to hold the negligent party accountable.

Whalen Montalvo understands the applicable laws and will help you hold the party responsible for the boating accident accountable. The team of attorneys has years of experience in these cases and has recovered fair compensation for many clients.

Dial (864) 770-7710 to book a free consultation and learn how we can help you.

What Are the Causes of Boating Accidents?

A boating accident involves a collision, sinking, explosion, or fire outbreak in a vessel that causes injury, property damage, or loss of life. There are different causes of boating accidents, and they include the following:

  • Operator inattention
  • Hazardous water
  • Operator inexperience
  • Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Violation of navigational rules
  • Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure.

In each of these cases, your boating accident lawyer will consider the presence of a duty of care and the breach of the duty through a negligent action. Your lawyer will also consider whether the breach caused the boating accident and the damages incurred. If all these factors are present in your case, you have a valid claim and stand a chance of getting compensation.

What Are the Different Types of Boating Accidents?

The following are some of the common boating accidents:

Falls Overboard

This happens when a passenger or boat operator falls overboard into the water. It is the most common cause of fatal boating accidents, especially for hunters and anglers.


This occurs when a boat overturns due to a powerful wave or a collision with another vessel or an obstacle.

Departed Vessel

Departed vessels involve a passenger voluntarily leaving a boat by diving off or jumping into the water. It could be because of a sudden change in direction or using excessive speed. Departing a vessel commonly happens when a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Collision With a Fixed Object or Recreational Vessel

Colliding with fixed objects does not only happen in road traffic accidents. Boats can crash into fixed things above or below the water’s surface. Also, the collision could involve one or more vessels, and it typically happens due to bad weather or human error.

If you suffered a catastrophic injury or lost a loved one in a boating accident, explore your legal options now!

Jurisdiction in Greenville, SC, Boating Accidents

As mentioned, the location of the boating accident determines the applicable law. The relevant statute is maritime law if the collision happened on an interstate waterway or waters used for international commerce. Conversely, the South Carolina Boating Laws and Regulations apply if the accident happened in a lake or non-commerce waters. Greenville boating accidents occur primarily on lakes and non-commerce water.

How to Determine Liability in a Boat Accident Case

Liability in a boating accident is not always clear. For example, you may assume you were at fault if you collided with a boat while jet skiing. However, the boat operator could have been speeding, making them the liable party.

But it does not stop there. Upon careful examination of the events leading to the accident, the boat operator may not be the only person accountable. Below are some of the possible liable parties in boating accidents.

The Boat Operator

The boat operator is the first person to consider after a boating accident. If the operator navigated the boat negligently, was inattentive or inexperienced, or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will bear the liability for the accident.

The Boat Owner

South Carolina Code 50-21-120 provides that a boat owner must ensure it is registered, numbered, and in safe working condition before leaving the dock. If the boat owner fails to maintain their boat correctly and an accident occurs because of mechanical failure, they are responsible for damages.

However, they will not be liable if the boat is removed from the dock without the owner’s knowledge. But if the person who took the vessel is a member of the owner’s household, the law creates an assumption that the person had the owner’s consent and knowledge.

Third Parties

A third party is someone or an entity not directly involved in the boating accident but whose actions played a role in the occurrence. For example, if a manufacturer sold a defective boat or the vessel had a bad part that caused a mechanical malfunction, the manufacturer would be liable. Similarly, if operator intoxication caused the boating accident, you can sue the person who sold the operator the alcohol.

This is under South Carolina’s Dram Shop law. But for it to apply, you must show the establishment sold alcohol to a minor or someone already intoxicated. Also, you must prove that the intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident and your injuries.

Identifying and proving the negligence of each of these parties can be complex. As such, hiring the Greenville boating accident attorneys at Whalen Montalvo is best.

Recoverable Damages in a Boating Accident in Greenville

As a boating accident victim, you are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Monetary damages are quantifiable financial losses and can be calculated to a fixed dollar amount. On the other hand, non-economic damages are unquantifiable losses that have no fixed dollar value.

Examples of these recoverable damages are:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Out-of-pocket expenses.

Aside from economic and non-economic damages, boating accident attorneys in Greenville, SC, can also ask for punitive damages. However, punitive damages only apply to cases where the liable party’s action is willful, reckless, or malicious. Also, it can only be granted by a court of law, as insurance companies do not pay punitive damages.

Boating Accident FAQs

Boating accident victims in Greenville, SC, often have questions about the claims process and how much they can receive as compensation. Below are some of the frequently asked questions boat accident attorneys get.

How Long Will My Boating Accident Claim Last?

A boating accident claim can last a few weeks, months, or years if it progresses to litigation. It all depends on the willingness of both parties to settle.

How Much Compensation Will I Receive from the At-Fault Party?

There is no fixed compensation for boating accidents, as each case is decided on the merits. Also, factors like the degree of liability, the injuries sustained, the presence of a disability, evidence, and the expertise of your Greenville boating accident attorney play a role.

How Long Do I Have to File a Boating Accident Claim in Greenville, SC? 

Under the South Carolina Code Section 15-3-530, you have three years from the day of the boating accident to file your claim. If you fail to do so, your claim will be barred.

What Will My Compensation for a Boating Accident Cover?

Your compensation includes economic and non-economic damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, etc.

How Much Will My Greenville Boating Accident Lawyer Charge? 

Boat accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. You only pay their fees once they secure a settlement, and they will get a percentage of your compensation.

How Greenville Boating Accident Lawyers at Whalen Montalvo Can Help You

A boating accident can be debilitating, leaving you in the hospital for an extended period. As such, you cannot gather the evidence needed to commence the claims process against the at-fault party. It also means you are neither physically nor emotionally fit to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Our attorneys will ensure your voice is heard, protect your rights, and work to get you the maximum compensation.

Were You Injured in a Boating Accident? Book a Free Case Review Now!

You may be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a boating accident. Therefore, don’t delay in taking action. Call (864) 770-7710 to book a free initial consultation with Whalen Montalvo.

James M. Whalen

I grew up right here in Greenville, South Carolina. Following highschool, I attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where I was an NCAA Scholar-Athlete for the Rhodes Lynx soccer program.

I completed my law degree at University of South Carolina School of Law, where I was on the mock trial team and an editor for the Journal of Law and Education. Following graduation, I served as a judicial law clerk for Senior Judge Robert H. Hodges, Jr. on the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. My experience in D.C. trial courts solidified my desire to become a trial lawyer.
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