Our Boating Accident Frequently Asked Questions

We have represented many victims of boating accidents in Virginia and we have fielded all kinds of questions. We share the most common questions with you here and provide detailed answers that draw on our years of experience representing victims of boat accidents. Browse our FAQ section today.
  • Page 1
  • After my Virginia boat accident, do I need an accident lawyer?

    Virginia has thousands of miles of shoreline. Each year, visitors from across the region travel to enjoy the Old Dominion’s Atlantic coast, fast-moving rivers, and picturesque lakes. While taking a boat down the Potomac or Roanoke River can be fun for the whole family, the number of boaters can make Virginia waterways dangerous. When boaters make mistakes, whether by underestimating inclement weather conditions or drinking behind the wheel, the consequences can be catastrophic.

    If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia boating accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation. However, your chances of recovery could be contingent on the quality of your legal representation. Without the right attorney, securing a fair recovery may be a significant challenge. Contact a lawyer after a boating accident

    When You May Need a Virginia Boat Crash Attorney

    Not every boating accident results in serious injuries or property damage. While you might not need an attorney to recover from a fall overboard or running aground on a sandbar, more serious accidents demand a more serious response.

    If You Suffer Serious Injuries

    Even with a comprehensive health insurance policy, paying medical expenses after a serious Virginia boat accident could be difficult. You might be asked to pay out of pocket for co-pays or percentage-based deductibles. A lawyer can help you assess your damages and determine whether your claim could be eligible for compensation.

    If the Accident Was Caused by Negligence

    Every Virginia boater has a duty of care to operate their watercraft in a reasonable manner. If a boater fails to uphold their duty of care and negligently causes an accident, they could be held liable for the costs of the resulting damages. However, establishing negligence can be difficult and requires proving four elements.

    Establishing Negligence

    1. The boat operator owed you a legal duty of care.
    2. The boat operator negligently breached their duty of care.
    3. The boat operator’s negligence directly caused or contributed to your accident-related injuries.
    4. Your damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage, can be compensated.

    Your ability to establish negligence often requires that you provide high-quality evidence. Even if you were unable to collect evidence from the crash site, an attorney could help you thoroughly investigate the causes and circumstances of your Virginia boat crash.

    If the Boat Owner Is Underinsured

    Virginia, unlike some other states, does not require that private pleasure watercraft carry valid insurance policies. While many boaters do purchase liability coverage, securing compensation from a private party or insurance company can be very difficult. The defense attorney could employ common strategies to contest your claims, telling the court that your own negligence caused or contributed to the accident.

    If the Insurance Adjuster Refuses to Negotiate

    Even if the negligent boater or boat rental company had a liability insurance policy, insurance adjusters do not always negotiate in good faith. The adjuster could try to undermine your claim by:

    • Asking you to consent to “independent” medical examinations—with a physician the insurance company chooses, who may have a reputation for rejecting claims
    • Burying you in paperwork, asking you to provide seemingly never-ending proof of injury
    • Requesting that you provide a recorded statement, perhaps even pressuring you to speak to an adjuster without an attorney present

    While insurance companies employ a variety of strategies designed to undermine strong liability claims, an experienced Virginia boat accident attorney will know what to expect and how to help you overcome the insurance company’s defense.

    Get Skilled Legal Help After Your Virginia Boat Accident

    The physical and financial consequences of a serious Virginia boat accident can be life-changing. Our experienced Fairfax accident injury attorneys understand that when you’re injured, it may put you out of work; you may face expensive medical bills; and you may be overwhelmed and confused by the legal challenges of filing a personal injury claim. We know that you need skilled, experienced lawyers who can provide you with immediate help. 

    At Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case, and all of our personal injury work is handled on a contingent fee basis. That means, you face no legal fees if we don’t recover for you. Let the personal injury attorneys at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC help you obtain the justice you deserve, especially if you suffer catastrophic injuries or must deal with the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact us online, or call us at 703-691-8333.

  • What can I recover in a Virginia boat accident injury case?

    Boat accidents are like other types of Virginia vehicle crashes. If you can prove that someone else’s negligence caused your accident injuries, you can recover damages. Injuries after a boating accident

    Boat Accident Negligence

    If you were hurt in a boating accident that wasn’t your fault, you need to show that the at-fault party was negligent. You must establish that: 

    • The person who caused the boat accident owed you a duty of care. Boat operators and owners owe their passengers and others on the water a duty of care.
    • The person who caused the boat accident breached the duty of care. Boat operators and owners who fail to act like other reasonable boat operators and owners would act in similar circumstances breach their duty of care.
    • You were hurt because of the breach of the duty of care. You need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence was a primary factor in causing your injuries, and your injuries would not have happened but for the boat operator’s or owner’s breach of the duty of care.

    Some examples of negligence in boat accident cases include boating while intoxicated, distracted boating, failing to keep a proper lookout, and any other situation where a boat operator or owner fails to use reasonable care.

    Boat Accident Damages

    Once you establish that someone else’s negligence caused your boat accident injuries, you need to prove the value of your injury. Your boat accident lawyer will consider all of your damages, including:

    • Healthcare costs. All of your past, present, and future medical expenses related to the accident can be recovered—hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, doctor visits, and physical therapy appointments.
    • Lost income. Lost wages, lost benefits, and any income from self-employment that you could not earn due to your injuries should be included in your recovery.
    • Physical pain and emotional suffering. These may be your most significant damages, but they may also be the hardest to quantify. An experienced Virginia injury lawyer can look at all of the facts of your case and prove the value of these damages.
    • Other costs. Any additional expenses that you prove are directly related to your boat accident injuries should be part of your financial recovery.

    If you’re injured on a Virginia waterway, you have the right to recover damages. Protect that right by contacting a boat accident lawyer today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach us by phone, through an online chat, or by filling out our contact form.