Boating accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death, particularly if someone falls overboard, there is a fire or explosion, or the boat operator is drunk. If your accident was caused by the negligence of another party, we suggest contacting a Richmond boat accident attorney for a free consultation.
Our law firm has been helping personal injury victims throughout the state of Virginia for over 25 years, obtaining more than $400 million in compensation. Our founder Geoff McDonald is a member of the National Trial Lawyers – Top 100, a select group of the premier trial lawyers in the nation.
Your initial consultation with a lawyer is free and we only get paid when we obtain a recovery on your behalf. Schedule your free consultation by calling Geoff McDonald & Associates today.
How Do I Know if My Claim is Valid?
If you are unsure if you may have a case, call our firm to schedule a free consultation with a Richmond boat accident attorney. We are here to review the details of your accident and answer your questions.
Boat accident victims may be eligible to pursue compensation if their lawyer can prove another party’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in their injuries.
In other words, you and your lawyer must be able to prove the four elements of negligence were present at the time of the accident:
- Duty of care – The at-fault party owed you a legal duty to act like a reasonable person to prevent you from getting hurt. For example, a boater has a legal obligation to not operate a vessel while he or she is intoxicated.
- Duty of care was breached – Using the example above, operating a boat while drunk is a breach of the duty of care because the boater did not act as a reasonable person would have in a similar situation. Other examples of negligence could include speeding, operating a boat while distracted, taking a boat out in dangerous weather, or operating a boat without the appropriate training or licensing.
- Causal link – There must be a direct link between the breach of duty of care and your injuries or property damage. Your damages would not have occurred if the duty of care had been upheld. For example, if the boat operator was intoxicated you must be able to prove your damages were the direct result of the boater’s decision to operate the vessel while intoxicated.
- Damages were suffered – You must be able to prove damages were created as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If you are unsure about whether the four elements of negligence were present in your accident, call our Richmond boat accident lawyers.
Liability for a Boat Accident in Virginia
Boating accidents are often the result of the operator’s negligence. However, passengers, boat owners (who may not be the same person as the operator), rental companies and manufacturers could also hold liability for a boating accident.
A manufacturer may be liable if a component on a boat malfunctions or is faulty and creates a dangerous situation, such as a fire or explosion.
Rental companies and boat owners may hold liability for failing to properly maintain a vessel to help ensure it is safe to operate.
What if You are Partially at Fault?
Unfortunately, Virginia has a harsh contributory negligence law that prohibits accident victims from pursuing compensation if they hold any amount of liability for an accident. The other parties must hold 100 percent of the liability for the accident or you will not be able to pursue a case.
However, you should discuss your accident with an experienced attorney, who can determine if you may have a case.
Compensation for a Boat Accident Claim
Boat accidents could result in many kinds of damages that affect you financially, physically and emotionally.
These are damages that have a monetary value attached to them, such as:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Transportation to receive medical treatment
- Assistive medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Property damage
- Home and vehicle modifications due to injury
These are damages that affect victims physically and emotionally, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Schedule your free case review today by calling Geoff McDonald and Associates at 866-369-9051 Our legal team is available to receive your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Do Boat Operators Have to Purchase Insurance?
The person operating the boat you were on when you were injured, or the boat that caused your injury, may have insurance for the vessel. Owners may have limited coverage for watercraft in their homeowners’ policies, but they may have also purchased separate coverage, even though Virginia does not require boaters to get insurance.
If you have a valid claim, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and legal expenses.
There are often deadlines for filing claims, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your accident. Our Richmond boat accident lawyers are prepared to handle the insurance claims process on your behalf.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Boat Accident Claim?
Under state law, personal injury victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to file a claim.
However, it is worth noting there are exceptions to this two-year deadline. Claims filed on behalf of minors must be filed within two years of the minor’s 18th birthday.
There may also be other exceptions you should consider discussing with a licensed boat accident attorney.
How Can a Lawyer Help My Claim?
Most personal injury victims who decide to have a lawyer represent them usually recover larger settlements. At Geoff McDonald & Associates we know insurance companies often try to avoid paying fair compensation, which is why we are always prepared to go to trial if necessary. We understand how important it is to obtain maximum compensation for accident victims.
If we determine you have a valid claim, we are prepared to launch a thorough investigation to obtain evidence to help us build a robust case. This may include examining the boat, interviewing witnesses, reviewing police/accident reports, reviewing records on the boat or its operator for evidence of past negligence, and consulting industry experts if necessary.
Our attorneys are also prepared to handle the insurance company for you. We understand the tactics insurance companies use to try to devalue a claim or deny it. If you do speak to an insurance company, you can refer them to your attorney. Be careful what you say to them, if you tell them you are feeling OK, they might use that statement to downplay the severity of your injuries and the value of your claim.
We are here to answer your legal questions. Ph: 866-369-9051
What Should You Do After a Boating Accident?
Accident victims often do not know what to do after an accident. They may be in a state of shock or unable to think clearly because of the pain they are in. While the most important thing after an accident is to seek medical treatment, there are other steps victims can take to help protect their potential legal claim.
For instance, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries must be notified via a written report when there is:
- More than $2,000 in damage to a vessel
- Injury that requires medical help more than first aid
- Disappearance of anyone who was aboard the vessel
Boating accidents must be reported in 48 hours if someone dies, suffers injuries and cannot perform normal activities, or someone disappears. Accidents must be reported in 10 days if there is more than $2,000 in property damage.
It is also important to talk to witnesses at the scene about what they saw and exchange contact information with everyone involved.
If you are able, and it is safe, take pictures of the boat, your injuries and anything else that may seem relevant.
All of this information may not only help your attorney determine if you have a valid case, but also help him or her to start building one on your behalf.
Boating Accidents and Their Causes
Boating is a popular leisure activity in Virginia with the abundance of waterways, particularly the numerous lakes and rivers in state parks.
Unfortunately, the fun can quickly end when an accident occurs. If this happens, victims should consider contacting a lawyer to discuss legal options.
Our Richmond boat accident lawyers are prepared to represent victims of many types of boat accidents, such as:
- Drunk boating accidents
- Collisions with other boats
- Slip and fall injuries near or on a boat
- Falling off a boat
- Boats capsizing
- Hitting a large wave at high speeds
- Propeller accidents
- Kayaking and canoe accidents
- Water ski accidents
- Airboat accidents
- Overloading a vessel
- Poor maintenance
- Explosions and fires
Some boat accidents can result in serious, life-altering injuries, such as: lacerations and bruises, sprained and strained ligaments, broken bones, concussions, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, carbon monoxide poisoning and near drowning.
If you have suffered any of these types of injuries and believe they were caused by the negligence of another party, consider scheduling a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Contact a Richmond Boat Accident Lawyer Today
The licensed Richmond boat accident lawyers at Geoff McDonald and Associates are prepared to discuss your claim in a free case review. If you have a case, our goal is to hold all negligent parties liable and pursue the maximum compensation available.
You will not be charged any fees unless we win fair compensation for your boat accident case. Our experienced attorneys understand the financial hardships some families are forced to endure after a serious boating accident. We are prepared to handle the complexities of the legal process so you can rest and recover from your injuries.
Contact our dedicated team of legal professionals anytime 24/7. We are prepared to answer any questions you may have about your boating accident.
Our Richmond office is located at 8720 Stony Point Parkway, Suite #250, which is right around the corner from Lewis G. Larus Park.