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Mathews County boating accident lawyers

Get help after a boating accident

Mathews, Virginia, is a wonderful place for boaters and their friends and family. Mathews has many marinas and boatyards that offer everything boaters need to embark on a fun day on the water. These include Compass Marina, Davis Creek Marina, Mathews Yacht Club, Winter Harbor Haven Marina, and many more.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) patrols waters across the Commonwealth and watches out for the safety of people on the water. This agency also collects data about boat accidents in and around Virginia – including rivers, coastlines, tidal shores, and inland lakes. Sadly, 89 boating incidents -- 47 injuries and 19 fatalities -- happened in Virginia in 2021, according to the agency. The DWR found a variety of factors contributed to these incidents.

If you have been the victim of a boating accident in Mathews County due to another party’s negligence, the boating accident attorneys at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys can help you. We will investigate the circumstances of your incident and gather and evaluate the evidence. If you have a viable case, we will pursue all forms of compensation for you resulting from the incident.

We offer you big city experience, and small-town care. We will put our decades of experience and expertise to work for you and treat you with empathy and compassion. Call (804) 413-6777 to set up a free meeting with us today.

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Boating accidents are increasing

Deadly boating incidents increased by 25% from 2019 to 2020, according to the most recent data on boating fatalities. Within that year, 767 deaths related to boating accidents happened across the United States. Overall, boating accidents increased by 26.3% that year, going from 4,168 to 5,265 accidents. Non-fatal injuries increased by 24.7%, going from 2,559 to 3,191.

What are common type of boating accidents?

The most common types of boating accidents include:

  • Collisions with another vessel or fixed object
  • Running aground when there’s not enough water to keep a vessel afloat
  • Flooding on board
  • Sinking
  • Losing control of a vessel
  • A boat’s mechanical failure
  • Drowning
  • Falling overboard
  • Being struck by a propeller
  • Fires
  • Explosions

How to maximize safety

Boat owners are the ones responsible for making sure that all passengers follow safety best practices and that their vessels are equipped the all of the tools necessary to keep everyone onboard safe. This means ensuring that the boat is well-stocked with:

  • Working navigation and anchor lights
  • A functional VHF radio (not required but a good idea)
  • Quality first aid kits
  • Safety equipment such as an ignition safety switch, an audible signaling device, and a device capable of sending visual distress signals
  • Life jackets for everyone on the water
  • An up-to-date fire extinguisher
  • One or more throwable flotation devices

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What are Virginia’s ground rules for boat operators?

Boat operators in Virginia are required to take a boater education safety course, depending on the type of boat they have. They are also required to have a “Boater Education Card” from the course with them while operating a boat. Not doing so can result in a fine.

What must a boat operator do after an accident?

When an incident happens involving others, boat operators in Virginia must follow specific procedures. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources requires operators to immediately report certain types of accidents to the agency. A report must be submitted under following circumstances:

  • When vessel or equipment damage exceeds $2,000
  • When treatment for an injury requires medical care beyond first aid
  • When a person is determined to be missing from a boat following an accident
  • When there is a death involved in the boating accident

After an accident, operators must first stop and provide assistance to all individuals involved. Operators are also required to submit their name, address, and identification to those injured and the owners of any property that was damaged. Finally, operators must meet certain report filing deadlines following damage to people or property.

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Who is responsible for injuries from boating incidents?

A boat operator may be held responsible for others’ injuries in a boating accident if he or she did not take into account the safety of others when on the water. This would include poor behaviors such as using alcohol or drugs while operating a boat, which can obviously lead to serious injuries. Other negligent behaviors may include:

  • Speeding
  • Boating without required safety equipment on board
  • Not properly venting a boat’s machinery space
  • Not properly monitoring the water for other boats, people, or objects
  • Navigating a boat with an obstructed view
  • Not paying enough attention to the water
  • Not having enough lights for navigation
  • Making sharp turns
  • Operating a boat without the proper experience
  • Overloading a boat with passengers
  • Not properly maintaining a boat
  • Navigating a boat in unsafe conditions

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What are common injuries after boating accidents?

Whether you are an operator of a commercial vessel or a passenger boat, you can take precautions on the water to minimize your chance of injury, or the impact of an injury. But despite your best efforts, another operator’s negligence can seriously injure you or your passengers. Injuries can include lacerations, amputation, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and more.

If a boat operator failed to take your safety into account, you may have the right to recover compensation for present and future medical bills, loss of income for missed time from work due to injury, damages for pain and suffering, and more.

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Contact our local boating accident attorneys for help

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we consider it a calling to serve our neighbors here in Virginia. We work to prevent personal injuries from ever happening by sharing safety information within our community and beyond.

But serious accidents do happen, and we help those who are hurt with excellence and compassion. We provide outstanding legal assistance during a difficult time, and we guide you throughout the entire legal process until you have been made whole financially. When you contact us, you pay no fees up front. We only get paid after you do. Call us toll free today at (804) 413-6777 to schedule a free, no-obligation meeting.

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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.