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Boat accident attorneys in James City

Legal help in your time of crisis

Virginians love to spend summers on the water, and James City residents and guests are no exceptions. With access to the James and the York rivers, is it any wonder that boating is a way of life for people throughout James City and beyond? Unfortunately, boating comes with risks and dangers. Drowning, head injuries, and broken bones can all happen when people are out on the water.

We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys have worked with many clients who have suffered injuries and even the loss of a family member from boating accidents. We know how devastating these tragedies can be, both for the individual and the community. Recovering from trauma and loss is difficult and heartbreaking. That’s why we seek to prevent accidents from happening in the first place through community outreach and education.

But when accidents do occur, we are dedicated to helping every client get fully compensated for their losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident that was not your fault, reach out to us by calling (804) 413-6777. We consider it a calling to help our neighbors.

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Why are boat accidents often dangerous?

All vehicle accidents have some level of danger. But boat accidents can be particularly devastating because they can happen in secluded places that are hard for authorities to reach. A rescue team has to know about the accident just to begin a search. You or someone in your boat has to be able to alert them. Then if someone has fallen into the water and gotten a head injury, the person may not be able to keep afloat and awake until help arrives. This scenario can and does end in drowning all too often.

Injuries that can quickly turn deadly on the water include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Severe burns
  • Amputations or the loss of a limb
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage

These injuries alone would be traumatic enough in any circumstance, but suffering from them while trying to stay afloat can be impossible. The truth is that boat accidents are one of the most dangerous kinds of accidents -- because the added factor of water makes drowning such a real possibility.

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What causes boat accidents?

Most often, the cause of boat accidents is human error, such as a reckless or impaired captain driving the boat. However, there can be cases in which the boat manufacturer, or even the company that rented the boat out, is responsible for the accident.

In our experience, some of the most common boat accident causes are:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Inexperienced operators
  • Distracted operators
  • Speeding
  • Sharp turns
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Poorly maintained decks that lead to slip and falls
  • Poor navigation
  • Improper lighting

Staying safe on a boat isn’t easy, especially if you are new to boating. Just like driving a car, a certain level of skill and experience is required to properly operate a watercraft. Following all rules and safety tips is critical.

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How can I stay safe while boating?

Taking a relaxing boat ride, whether in the bay or on a river, can be a wonderful way to cool off during a hot Virginia summer. You can enjoy James City’s breathtaking views, while dipping your toes in refreshing water.

So as personal injury lawyers and as boat and water lovers, we want to give you our best tips to keep you safer as you head out on a boat:

  1. Never drink and operate a boat: We all know that drinking and driving a car is dangerous and against the law. Alcohol impairs judgment and slows reaction time. But being intoxicated on a boat can make the consequences even worse. For one of many reasons: if you land overboard after drinking, you may not be able to tread water, swim, or take the other necessary steps to keep yourself and others alive.
  2. Check the day’s weather: Always check the weather forecast before heading out on the water. What may start as a beautiful sunny day can quickly turn into a dangerous storm. Even the most experienced boaters can lose control of their vessels in bad weather. Be prepared with up-to-date weather reports.
  3. Always keep an eye on children: Children are one of the most at-risk groups when it comes to boating. They are usually not strong swimmers, and they may not consider the potential risks when running around on the deck of a boat. Carefully watch children near water at all times, and make sure they always have on their life jackets.
  4. Report erratic behavior: If you see someone acting dangerously or erratically, especially if it seems they could be operating their boat while intoxicated, report it to the authorities right away. Boat accidents can be deadly, and notifying authorities about a dangerous situation could very well save a life.
  5. Bring and wear life jackets: Life jackets and preservers may seem like a nuisance when you just want to relax and enjoy your day. But they can save your life during a boating accident, especially if you or any passenger becomes unconscious. The majority of boat accident deaths are from drowning, and the risks can be greatly reduced if everyone takes the precaution of wearing a life jacket.
  6. Stock the boat with all necessary safety equipment, including:
    • First aid kits
    • A working VHF radio (optional, but reliable)
    • Anchor and navigation lights
    • A working fire extinguisher
    • One or more throwable flotation devices
    • Safety equipment including an ignition safety switch and devices for both audible and visual distress signaling

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How can I receive compensation after a boating accident?

If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, the best way to receive proper compensation is to file a claim against the person or party responsible for the accident. That could be the boat manufacturer, the boat rental company, or a negligent boat operator.

After a boating accident, you can potentially receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost job opportunities
  • Therapy bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Lowered quality of life

The value of your case depends heavily on the skill and expertise of your personal injury attorney, as well as the costs you incurred from the accident. A key part of filing a claim is choosing the strongest legal team possible to represent you in your case.

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The legal team you need

Living through an experience as traumatic as a boating accident is hard to recover from. Filing a claim may be the last thing you want to worry about as you try to heal from your injuries and move past your suffering. But the hospital bills will not take long to start flooding in, and you will need a way to keep yourself afloat when they do.

We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys are here to share the best legal options available with you and to help you make informed decisions. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we do not get paid until we win your case. This means that hiring us, personal injury attorneys serving James City will not cost a dime from your pocket.

We will handle every step of your case, aggressively advocating for you at all times. You can focus on your recovery. If you think you need legal help after a boat accident that was not your fault, call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777. We are former U.S. Marines, and we will fight for our neighbors in James City.

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Additional Information

Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.

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Community Service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.