Boating Accidents

Serving Clients in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C. & Throughout the U.S.


Every year more and more people are injured or killed in boating accidents. In nearly every instance they are preventable. In 2003, there were 10,984 vessels involved in 5,705 recreational boating accidents. These accidents resulted in over 700 fatalities and nearly 4,000 injuries.

We represent clients who have suffered personal injuries or lost loved ones in boating accidents and collisions. The causes of boating accidents typically include operator error, operator inexperience, operating the craft while intoxicated, or equipment failure.

Boat operators owe their passengers as well as others in the waters around them a high degree of care. We are ready to discuss your situation and go over the options available to you in an effort to quickly and efficiently resolve your case.

What Are Some Common Causes of Recreational Boating Accidents?

One of the most common causes of recreational boating accidents is operator inexperience. Many people do not realize just how different boating can be from driving a car, and this inexperience can lead to dangerous situations on the water. Another very common cause of boating accidents is alcohol use. Drinking and operating a boat can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car, so it is important to always practice responsible behavior while out on the water. Other common causes include aggressive driving, reckless driving, excessive speed, poor weather conditions, and violation of navigational rules.

What Steps Should I Take After a Boating Accident?

If you have been involved in a boating accident, your first priority should always be to make sure that everyone is safe and out of danger. If anyone has been injured, call for emergency medical help right away. Once everyone is safe, report the incident to the proper authorities. This can include contacting local law enforcement or the Coast Guard depending on where you are located and what happened during the accident. Gather information from any witnesses who may have seen what happened and take photos of the scene if possible. Finally, you should contact an experienced Newport News, VA, personal injury attorney, such as James H. Shoemaker, Jr., as soon as possible to discuss your legal options moving forward.

Who Is Responsible for a Boating Accident?

There are many different parties that might be held liable for a boating accident, depending on the circumstances of the incident. For example, if an inexperienced boater is to blame for an accident, their insurance company could be responsible for covering medical and property damage expenses. In other cases, it might be possible to hold a negligent marina or boat rental company legally accountable for injuries sustained during an incident. Consult with a personal injury attorney, such as James H. Shoemaker, Jr. of Newport News, VA, who can help determine whose liability applies in your case so that you can take appropriate legal action against them.

What Damages Are Available in a Boating Injury Lawsuit?

If you decide to pursue compensation for a boating accident, there are several different types of damages that you may be able to claim. These can include expenses related to:

  • Medical treatment. Injuries sustained during a boating accident, including both past and future expenses related to your medical care, may be recovered with a boating injury lawsuit.
  • Lost wages and income. If conditions caused by the boating accident keep you from working and earning a living, some of your lost wages and income may be compensated.
  • Loss of future earning capacity or benefits. Medical issues caused by a boating accident that keeps you from returning to work and making the same level of income you earned prior may be recovered by filing a lawsuit.
  • Pain and suffering. Injuries, including emotional concerns, may be included in a boating accident lawsuit. This includes the length of time in the hospital for an injury or ongoing mental health concerns such as PTSD or anxiety caused by the accident.
  • Property damage expenses. Replacement or repair to the boat or additional property caused by the accident may be recuperated through the boating accident lawsuit.
  • Wrongful death claims. If another party's negligence leads to the wrongful death of a loved one, you may be able to pursue compensation for the loss of financial and emotional support they provided you with.

Your personal injury attorney, James H. Shoemaker, Jr., will work with experts such as investigators, accident reconstructionist, doctors, and life care planners to gather evidence and build an airtight case on your behalf so that you can get the maximum amount of compensation possible under the law.

Mr. Shoemaker has over 22 years of experience as a trial attorney and is a partner in the law firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C. ("PWHD"), based in Virginia. Mr. Shoemaker, his partners and associates are available for representation nationwide.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, we encourage you to contact us online or call us at 757-223-4580. One of our paralegals will review the facts of your case with you, and then Mr. Shoemaker will call you and discuss your case free of charge*.

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