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Can I sue for boating under the influence?

With spring fast approaching, many North Carolinians may be looking forward to full-fledged boating season. Though this activity can be fun, relaxing, and even educational for younger passengers, it can also be extremely dangerous. Negligent, reckless, and intoxicated boaters can put themselves, their passengers, and other boaters at serious risk of harm and death. When a boat accident occurs and you are hurt or a loved one is killed, you certainly may be able to take legal action.

Our state has criminal laws that seek to keep boaters, like you, safe. Boating under the influence is a criminal offense, and those who are arrested for such a crime can face serious penalties. Local, state, and federal authorities often keep an eye out for these dangerous boaters, and they may even set up BUI checkpoints. However, when intoxication leads to an injurious or fatal accident, criminal charges will do very little to help you cope with your damages.

Therefore, if you are hurt in a boating accident caused by an intoxicated boater, then you may want to think about speaking with an experienced lawyer about filing a civil lawsuit. A successful claim may allow you to recover compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Winning your case, though, is dependent upon the circumstances of your particular case. Therefore, no outcome can be guaranteed.

It is worth noting that there are many things you can do to keep you, your passengers, and other boaters safe while on the water. For example, know and follow local boating regulations. Being in compliance will ensure you are following the law and that you are doing everything you can to keep yourself safe. Also, make sure you and your passengers wear life vests. In the event of an accident, these devices truly can save your life or the life of someone you love.

Source: FindLaw, "Boating Under the Influence Basics," accessed on Mar. 1, 2015

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