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Fatal boating accidents decrease, but still a problem

With summer fast approaching, more and more North Carolinians will take to the waterways. Driving and riding in a boat are fun and relaxing and can make for a great day out with family and friends. However, just like an individual who drives a car on the road, the safety of a person in a boat is often contingent not only upon their own actions, but also upon the actions of other boaters. When a reckless boat driver takes to the water, everyone around him or her is in danger of suffering serious injuries or death.

The good news is that North Carolina saw a 30 percent decrease in boating deaths last year. The bad news is that these accidents are still far too common. In fact, last year North Carolina ranked tenth in boating fatalities and fifth in boat accidents. Officials say alcohol is involved in most boating accidents and is the number one contributing factor in North Carolina boating deaths.

In an attempt to reduce the number of boating injuries and fatalities, officials urge boaters to wear properly fitting life jackets and to be properly trained in boating safety. While these are useful tips that should certainly be abided by, these acts alone will not fully protect an individual from a boating accident. For those who are injured in a boating crash, a lawsuit may be their only recourse.

Filing a lawsuit against a negligent or reckless boat driver may allow a victim to recover much needed compensation. If the defendant can be shown to have been negligence, that negligence caused the accident, and the accident resulted in compensable harm to the victim, then money may be awarded to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition to helping a victim get back on his or her feet, a successful claim will further raise awareness of the dangers of negligent boat operation and will hopefully deter future accidents.

Source: The Salisbury Post, "Officials promoting water safety," Elizabeth Roy, May 23, 2014

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