During months of warmer weather boats and kayaks are not an uncommon sight in many parts of Virginia. Unfortunately, boaters and personal watercraft operators don’t always pay attention or obey the law. When basic safety measures are not taken, serious accidents and injuries occur. In 2012 alone, the US Coast Guard reported 4,515 accidents that involved 651 deaths, and 3,000 injuries as a result of recreational boating accidents.
Virginia Boating Laws and Regulations
- It is illegal to operate watercraft under the age of 16. People aged 14 or 15 may operate watercraft if they complete a boating safety education course.
- Your vessel must have a life jacket readily accessible for each person on board. The life jackets must also be the appropriate size.
- It is illegal to carry additional passengers beyond what the craft was designed to hold.
- Speed near docks, piers, swimmers and boat ramps.
- Ride recklessly, including weaving through vessels, following too closely, or steering toward an object or person.
Causes of Boating Accidents
- Drunk or drugged boaters. Drugs, booze, and boating don’t mix. When operating any kind watercraft, stay away from mind-altering substances.
- Inexperienced boaters. Novice boaters can get easily flustered when they’re put in new situations. Inexperienced boaters can make expensive, life-threatening errors.
- Faulty equipment. Just like cars, boating companies have recalled their products because of defective equipment. When a vessel has faulty equipment, it becomes a ticking time bomb.
- Speeding. High speeds can kill. When boaters go too fast, they often can’t slow down soon enough to prevent a collision. These irresponsible boaters risk their lives and the lives of others.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. Engines and small spaces can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If a vent on your boat is blocked, carbon monoxide can build up quickly and poison those on board. Exhaust from other vessels can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Compensation & Settlements for Virginia Boat Accident Victims
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, we can help fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
- Medical costs. When you’re injured in a boating accident, the last thing you need is the stress of hospital bills. No victim should be responsible for the treatment they get following an accident caused by a negligent boater. Our team can help you recover the money spent on medical care and on long-term medical care you may need.
- Lost wages. Injuries can put a person on bed rest for days, weeks, months, and permanently. If you find yourself out of work because of your injury, the wages you miss out on can be included in your settlement.
- Wrongful death. Between funeral costs, medical bills and lost future earnings, many bereaved families find themselves drowning in the debt brought on by the actions of a negligent boater. A wrongful death claim can help compensate families after losing their loved one.
Important Deadlines for Virginia Injury Lawsuits
In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. Every case is different and this deadline often depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. Once this deadline expires, you will never again be able to seek compensation for your injuries. This is why it is very important to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Virginia Maritime and Boat Accident Lawyer
The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC is here to help you and your family. Richard Serpe has a Masters Degree (LLM) in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law and has obtained the highest ranking (Proctor) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States. Richard Serpe has years of experiences protecting the rights of the injured. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may need an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Contact us for a free consultation 877-544-5323.