It is no wonder so many boating enthusiasts live in the Richmond area. The James River bisects the city, connecting inland Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay and providing countless boating opportunities. A number of scenic lakes also surround Richmond.

Before a day on the water, all boat operators are expected to learn the rules of the waterway. When individuals fail to study or follow these rules, accidents are likely to occur.

If you were injured due to the carelessness of another boater, you may have grounds for a personal injury case. Call a Richmond boat accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.

Common Causes of Boat Accidents

All boat operators are compelled to follow certain rules and regulations on the water. When two boats or watercraft travel towards each other, there are strict rules that govern right-of-way. The specific rules depend on the type of watercraft involved, the speed at which each vessel is moving, and the wind patterns at the time of intersection.

A watercraft crash attorney in Richmond may be able to help the injured party review the evidence of the accident. If canoes, kayaks, jet skis, sailboats, or motorboats failed to follow prescribed traffic patterns, the operators of those watercraft may be liable for damages.

The United States Coast Guard responds to over 600 boating-related fatalities every year. In many of these incidents, speeding and drinking are contributing factors. When a boat operator causes an accident after drinking, they may be held responsible for damages in a lawsuit.

What to Do After a Boating Accident

A boat accident attorney can help guide a claimant through the process of filing a personal injury claim. When fishing trips, cruises, ferry rides, and recreational outings go wrong, it may take a boating crash attorney to sort through the details of the accident.

Under Virginia Code § 29.1-739, the captain of the vessel must legally take certain steps after a boat accident. All operators must move their boat and all occupants from harm’s way and assist others involved in the accident, as appropriate. The operator of the boat must also take action to prevent impending damages. Then, they must contact the relevant authorities. For example, if a small cruise ship runs into a sandbar, the captain is responsible for righting the ship and returning to safe waters before making a report.

If operators follow these procedures to the best of their ability, they may not be responsible for any additional damages that occur in the aftermath of the original accident. Virginia Code § 29.1-739 protects boaters who act in good faith to prevent personal injury and property damages.

Maritime Police Response to a Boating Accident

Many maritime accidents occur in remote places, far away from Coast Guard patrols or local police offices. Therefore, first responders rely on boaters to report accidents as soon as possible when they occur.

During a police investigation, the boaters involved in the accident must report their name, address, and boat details to occupants and owners of other boats. To be compliant with Virginia Code § 29.1-739, all boaters involved in the accident must provide relevant parties with their personal information.

Virginia Code § 46.2-936 gives investigators the authority to summon boaters to court and conduct in-depth investigations into the cause and context of boating accidents. For this reason, it is essential that all police reports are factual. A boating crash attorney in Richmond can help plaintiffs to gather evidence in support of their personal injury claims.

Seeking the Help of a Richmond Boat Accident Attorney

On lakes and rivers, the mixture of vessels and experience levels can cause serious collisions. Unlike roadways, waterways have no clear demarcation of lanes, nor red lights or stop signs. Sadly, there is a high chance of fatalities when operators fail to do their due diligence after a crash.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a boat accident, help is available. You could benefit from speaking with a Richmond boat accident lawyer about your eligibility for fair compensation.

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Commonwealth Law Group

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at Call (804) 999-9999 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.

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