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Who Is Liable in a Boating Accident in Virginia?

Virginia has many fantastic bays, rivers, and channels for boating. Many residents of and visitors to Virginia take advantage of the commonwealth’s beautiful waters. Unfortunately, this also means that boating accidents are a common occurrence in Virginia. If you have been injured in a boating accident in Virginia, how can you obtain financial compensation for your injuries and losses? 

Boating Laws in Virginia

Some of the laws that govern boating in Virginia waters include:

  • All operators of boats with 10 or more horsepower must be at least 14 years old and must complete a boating safety course.
  • There must be one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on the boat. Each passenger must have a life jacket appropriate for their size. Life jackets must be out in the open or stored where easily reached, if not worn.
  • Boats over 26 feet must have USCG-approved fire extinguishers. Smaller boats must also carry extinguishers under certain circumstances.
  • Boats over 16 feet in length must carry visual distress signals when operating in coastal waters.
  • Operators must always maintain a safe speed, taking into account visibility, traffic, the maneuverability of the vessel, navigational hazards, and wind and sea conditions.
  • No person may ride or sit on the bow, transom, or decking unless it has guards or railings to prevent falling overboard. 

Causes of Boating Accidents

The most frequent causes of boating accidents in Virginia include:

  • Speeding
  • Operator distraction or inattention
  • Improper or negligent lookout
  • Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to follow navigational rules
  • Mechanical failure due to defect or improper maintenance
  • Adverse weather
  • Boating into marked hazardous waters
  • Creating excessive wakes 

Injuries Caused by Boating Crashes

Boating accidents can lead to a wide variety of injuries, such as:

  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, and tears
  • Dislocated joints
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Drowning injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations 

Who Is Responsible?

A boating accident can be caused by careless or reckless behavior or the legal fault of various parties. Examples of individuals who might bear liability for a boating accident include:

  • The boat operator
  • The owner of the boat, if not the operator
  • A lookout
  • A rental company if the boat involved was rented
  • The boat manufacturer or the manufacturer of a part used on the boat 

Compensation for a Boating Accident

When you are injured in a boating accident in Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills, prescriptions, physical rehabilitation, and equipment and devices
  • Long-term care, if boating accident injuries lead to permanent, debilitating injuries.
  • Lost wages or income during the recovery period from injuries
  • Lost future earnings and benefits, if your injuries cause permanent disabilities that affect your earning ability
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of quality of life from effects of your injuries, such as disfigurement or disability 

How a Boating Injury Lawyer Could Help

After a boating accident, let a Virginia personal injury lawyer from Hudley and Johnson help you seek accountability and justice by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the boating accident to secure evidence that can help identify the at-fault party or parties
  • Advising you of your rights and options for pursuing financial recovery for your injuries
  • Handling communications and negotiations with the insurance company and defense lawyers on your behalf to pursue fair and full compensation in a settlement
  • Advocating your case in court or at trial, if necessary, to pursue the best possible outcome for you

If you were hurt in a boating accident in Virginia, contact a Richmond personal injury attorney at The Johnson Injury Firm today for a consultation. Learn more about your legal rights and options for seeking financial recovery for your losses and injuries. Call us today at 804-262-9000 or connect with us online. We are here for you and ready to help.

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