Richmond Boat Accident Lawyer
Boating or using personal watercraft such as Jet Skis or Wave Runners on the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters of Virginia can be a fun and thrilling experience. It can be dangerous, too.
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that, during a recent five-year period in our state, an average of:
- 87 boating accidents occurred each year
- 15 of those accidents resulted in deaths.
The attorneys of Marks & Harrison know that careless and reckless conduct by boat and PWC operators causes too many of these accidents. We stand up for those harmed by negligent boaters and fight for full compensation for them.
We carefully investigate boating accidents and aggressively pursue damages for our clients, including funds for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
Because we have nine offices located throughout the state, we can quickly assist those harmed in boat accidents on waters such as Lake Anna, Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake, Rappahannock River, Potomac River or along the coast. Contact us today to receive a free, immediate consultation.
What Should You Do After a Boating Accident?
If you have been involved in a boating accident, Marks & Harrison suggests that you take the following steps:
- Stop and help. If you are a boat operator who was involved in a collision of any kind in Virginia, you have a legal duty to stop and render assistance. You can be charged with a crime if you fail to do so.
- Call authorities. Your best option is to call 911, who will dispatch local police or sheriff’s officers to your accident site. Conservation officers or the U.S. Coast Guard may also respond.
- Gather evidence. The more evidence you can collect at the scene of a boating accident, the stronger your case will be down the road. Use a cell phone to take photos. Get eyewitness contact information. Do not repair your boat or throw away any equipment until you talk with a lawyer first.
- Get medical attention. See your doctor as soon as you can. A boat accident could cause brain trauma, soft tissue injury or internal organ damage that is not immediately apparent. You need to protect your health.
- Report the accident. You must submit a written report to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries within 48 hours if you are a boat operator who was involved in an accident that resulted in the death or serious injury of anyone. You can use the VDGIF boating accident report form on www.dgif.virginia.gov.
- Contact Marks & Harrison. We will immediately investigate your case and handle other matters you may need to address in the aftermath of a boating accident, including dealing with insurance companies.
What Caused Your Boat Accident?
We will focus our investigation of your case on determining whether another person’s negligence – the failure to use reasonable care – caused the injuries you suffered in a boating accident. Common causes of boating injuries include:
- Operator inattention – Driving while distracted is as dangerous on the water as it is on the road. Because boating often requires taking quick actions to avoid crashes, a lack of attention can be especially dangerous.
- Improper lookout – A boat operator must be on the lookout for other boats, people and objects in the water. The only way to avoid a collision may be to make a sharp turn, which can cause a boat to capsize.
- Operator inexperience – Those who lack training to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft can easily make mistakes and violate navigational rules that put them and others in harm’s way.
- Excessive speed – It is reckless to go too fast in a boat, especially when the water is crowded with others. When you speed in a boat, you lack the time to react and avoid boats, swimmers and objects. You can also cause wakes that endanger other boaters.
- Alcohol use – Boating is highly dangerous when a person’s mental and physical faculties are impaired by drinking any amount of alcohol. Alcohol use may also cause you to become dehydrated, which hurts your ability to think clearly.
- Machinery failure – A defectively designed boat or a boat that has been negligently maintained can cause injuries due to equipment failure. For instance, a boat may run into shallow waters or hit submerged rocks and trees if a GPS device or depth finder fails. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also result from equipment failure.
- Navigation rules violation – Riding into no-wake zones and failing to yield are examples of rules violations that can put boat operators, their passengers and others at risk of injury.
- Hazardous waters – The potential for a serious boating accident goes up when the water is choppy, full of hidden objects or congested with traffic.
- Overcrowding – When too many people are on a boat, it can easily lead to falls or passengers being thrown overboard.
Additionally, boating accident victims may suffer injuries due to a lack of proper safety equipment such as life jackets and fire extinguishers.
What Are Your Legal Options After a Boat Accident in Virginia?
A boating accident can result in serious injuries, including cuts, fractures, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, soft tissue injury, drowning and near-drowning. A victim may face extensive medical costs, lose time from work and experience significant pain and suffering.
If another person’s negligence caused you to suffer this harm, you have the right to seek just compensation. However, establishing negligence and recovering damages in a boating accident case in Virginia can be highly complex. You will need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At Marks & Harrison, we know how important it is for boating accident victims to recover just compensation for their losses. If you have been harmed in such an accident, we will work tirelessly and aggressively to pursue all compensation you are due.
Our Richmond Boating Accident Attorneys Can Help You
When you need help from an experienced, skilled and highly dedicated personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation after a boating accident in Virginia, your first call should be to Marks & Harrison.
With nine offices throughout the state, including our headquarters conveniently located in Richmond, we are ready to serve you. Contact us today and get started with a free consultation.
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