Virginia features a vibrant community of boaters who take advantage of the Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River, New River, James River, Elizabeth River, Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Gaston, Lake Smith and the dozens of other inviting waterways in the Commonwealth. But with that large number of boaters and personal watercraft users comes a rate of boating accidents that is higher in Virginia than that in other states. In fact, 102 boat accidents occurred in Virginia during 2010, with 14 of those resulting in the loss of life.
Accidents on the water can also cause severe injuries that present victims with medical bills, lost wages and, sometimes, permanent disabilities. Attorneys at our Virginia Beach and Hampton, VA-based personal injury law firm understand how to handle claims arising from serious boat accidents, as well as accidents involving a PWC like a Jet Ski, WaveRunner or Sea-Doo.
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The major causes of boating accidents are becoming distracted while at the wheel, operating recklessly, speeding, allowing passengers or skiers to behave irresponsibly, and drinking alcohol to excess. Such actions constitute negligence on the water and routinely cause boats to capsize or collide, which results in flooding, fire and explosion. Further, when boat operators are careless, skiers might be hit by propellers or the vessels towing them. In addition, passengers could be knocked overboard. There are also the risk from poorly designed boats and defective boat equipment. Boat defects can give rise to claims against manufacturers.
Our Virginia injury law firm understands how to properly investigate a boat accident on a VA waterway and how to evaluate a boat accident injury claim. Questions we will seek to answer include
- Was the at-fault boat operator intoxicated?
- Was the at-fault boat operator speeding or operating the boat negligently?
- Did the at-fault boat operator comply with regulations under the Virginia Code that lay out how to properly operate a boat?
If the at-fault individual was operating a personal watercraft, then we will seek answers to these questions:
- Was the at-fault operator speeding or weaving across the water recklessly?
- Was the at-fault operator following another vessel too closely?
- Did the at-fault operator cross the path of another vessel?
These are only a few of the questions and issues that may require detailed investigation and review by our Virginia boat accident injury lawyers. To learn more about Virginia boat accidents and what laws may apply, check out this article.