Boat Propeller Accidents in Charlotte

Every year, North Carolina residents become injured in boat propeller accidents. Just two days ago, a boy in Missouri died after a boat propeller struck him on the Lake of the Ozarks. He was exiting the rear of the boat when the propeller hit him. In another case, a Charlotte woman lost her breast and an arm after being struck by a boat propeller during a lake bash event on Lake Norman. While she was in the water, the boat propeller hit her twice. The man operating the boat had allegedly never operated a boat and lacked the skill to navigate the boat in a crowded, public area.

Unfortunately, these boat propeller accidents are far too common, especially in North Carolina, with our 300 miles of coast and many lakes. All watercraft are hazardous when it comes to collisions and mechanical failures. There are two kinds of dangers that are especially serious regarding personal watercraft, skiers, scuba divers, tubers, and boaters. Indeed, jet thrust injuries and propeller injuries are among the most dangerous aspects of boating activities.

What Causes Propeller Injuries?

Most propeller accidents occur when someone falls overboard a boat or gets too close to the back of a motorized vessel. The operator of the vessel is responsible for operating the boat in a reasonably safe manner. When the boat operator gets too close to jet skiers or swimmers in the water or tosses people into the water, propeller accidents are more likely to happen. Propeller accidents can also happen when someone exits the boat from the back when the engine is still on.

Propeller Injury Statistics

A recent study by the National Library of Medicine estimated that approximately 25% of the US population participates in recreational boating activities. Of these activities, 7,000 reported accidents occurred, and 60% of these accidents resulted in injuries, and 19% of them were fatal. 18% of fatal boating injuries are caused by propeller switches, which accounts for 2% of all accidents. Overall, propeller injuries have a fatality rate between 15% to 17% and a similar rate for significant limb amputations.

Many propeller injuries cause amputations when the propeller strikes a person's limbs. While many propeller injuries are hacking or chopping trauma, they can also cause other types of injuries. Most propeller injuries result in broken bones, fractures, and death from blunt-force trauma rather than cuts or lacerations. The most dangerous accidents involve a propeller striking a person's head or torso. The underlying organs are always at risk of being seriously damaged.

Jet Thrust Injuries

Jet thrust injuries are caused when the force of a propeller thrusting water comes into contact with those directly behind the vessel. Jet thrust injuries typically occur on personal watercraft. These situations can place anyone not wearing protective wetsuits at great risk for injury. When the throttle is turned on, and someone is in the back of the personal watercraft, water and debris can exit the thrust nozzle and cause severe injuries.

Recovering Compensation After a Propeller Injury

Under North Carolina law, victims of another person's negligence are entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. If you were the victim of a propeller accident, you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the operator of the watercraft involved or the manufacturer. You will need to prove that the defendant failed to act reasonably under the circumstances and that his or her negligence caused your injuries. In North Carolina, plaintiffs are entitled to economic damages, such as medical expenses and loss of income. They are also entitled to damages for pain and suffering caused by their injuries.

Contact a Boat Accident Lawyer in Charlotte

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our experienced personal injury lawyers have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. If you have been injured in a boating accident, we would be happy to discuss your case with you during a free initial consultation. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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