Boating Injuries and Uninsured Motorist Coverage | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Our law firm has represented clients in numerous cases involving injuries on boats, jet-skis, or even while being pulled on a raft or other contraption by a boat. Take, for example, a case involving a client who was seriously injured in a charter fishing boat accident.

This experience, along with securing financial restitution for our clients, has yielded some important insights and tips we share with clients who are in need of top-notch legal counsel. For example, you should know that if you or a family member is involved in a boat or jet ski accident, you may be able to obtain financial restitution through your uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured Boating Insurance Coverage

When boat insurance policies are written in Virginia, they include uninsured boating insurance. This is similar to the uninsured/underinsured insurance typically accessed by motorists involved in serious car wrecks. As a result, if you own a boat and have boat insurance or a resident relative has boat insurance where you reside, and you were out on the water and were injured in an accident, you can file a claim for financial restitution. 

Under Virginia boat insurance law, the amount of the uninsured/underinsured boating insurance that you carry on your policy must exceed the available insurance of the person that was negligent and caused your injuries. For example, let’s say that you had $50,000 worth of medical bills from a hospital stay, and within a short period of time you find out that the person who negligently injured you on the water, has no insurance or has only $25,000.00 of insurance for the boating incident.

An analysis needs to be conducted on whether you have access to a boat insurance policy by having the boat insurance yourself, or being in the household and having a family member who has such boat insurance.  Then you must determine if the uninsured/underinsured boat insurance is over the $25,000.00 of insurance that the negligent party who caused the incident already carries.

Offset State

With regard to these types of uninsured and underinsured coverages, Virginia is what is called an “offset” state meaning that you don’t get the additional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in its face amount. Rather, you are entitled to access the amount that your uninsured/underinsured coverage exceeds the negligent party.  So, for example, if you have $50,000 of uninsured/underinsured boating coverage, and the person that caused the accident in their boat has no insurance, you would be entitled to access the entire $50,000 of coverage that you already have on your policy for underinsured or uninsured boat liability.

Many people that get injured in boating situations do not realize that policies that do not cover the boat in the incident, can still apply to provide coverage like when you have a boat at home.  Your boat doesn’t have to be involved at all, because the uninsured/underinsured coverage of your own boat policy might apply to provide coverages.

Talk to a Boat Accident Attorney in Virginia Beach

This situation can get a little complicated, so we strongly recommend you contact our law firm to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal options. The attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have dedicated their careers to representing injured Virginians and their home office is based in Tidewater so they have extensive experience with boat and jet ski accident cases.