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Virginia Boat & Boating Accidents

If you were injured in a boating accident in Virginia that was someone else's fault, you may be entitled to compensation to pay for:

  • All medical bills-past, present, and future-for treatment related to your Virginia boating-accident injuries
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement stemming from the Virginia boating accident injury
  • Emotional distress stemming from the Virginia boating accident
  • The repair or replacement of your boat or any property damaged or destroyed in the accident
  • Lost wages for time off from work (including time spent going to doctor's and physical therapist's appointments)
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores you're unable to do because of your boating accident-related injuries
  • Any other costs you've incurred because of the accident

If anyone was killed in the boat crash or if a boat driver was intoxicated, the Commonwealth of Virginia may prosecute the boater at fault and/or the intoxicated boater. To collect money from the party at fault, however, you may still have to file a boating accident personal injury lawsuit in Virginia courts or a maritime lawsuit (also known as an admiralty lawsuit) in federal courts, depending on which has jurisdiction in your accident.

Whether you live in Norfolk, Newport News, Roanoke, Reston, or elsewhere in Virginia, a boat accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and collect the money to which you are entitled.

How Is Fault Determined in Virginia Boat Accidents?

To collect money stemming from a Virginia boating-accident injury claim, personal injury and maritime laws require you to prove that the other driver, or party responsible for your injuries, was negligent. You must show:

  • The boater or party responsible for your injuries had a responsibility not to injure you and failed to live up to that responsibility
  • There is a connection between the other party's responsibility and your injury
  • You suffered damages, or a financial loss, as a result of the accident

How Long Do You Have to File a Virginia Boating Accident Claim?

The statute of limitations, or time in which you have to file a lawsuit, will depend on several factors, including whether your accident falls under Virginia or federal maritime laws, and if you signed a contract limiting the statute of limitations. Your Virginia boating accident attorney can advise you on the statute of limitations in your situation.

If you and your Virginia boat accident lawyer are unable to negotiate a settlement with the party at fault (or their insurance company), you should consider filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. If you do not file a lawsuit against the responsible party before the statute of limitations expires, you will give up your right to sue.

Where Do You File a Virginia Boat Accident Lawsuit?

One of the first things your Virginia boat accident attorney will do is figure out whether Virginia or federal maritime laws apply in your particular case. If your boating accident occurred on a landlocked lake, your case would be heard in state courts. If it occurred on water used for interstate or foreign travel, federal maritime laws (also known as admiralty laws) would apply.

For Virginia boating crash injury claims worth more than $4,500 where Virginia law applies, you would file your lawsuit in the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court.

If your Virginia boating accident claim is for less than $4,500 and Virginia law applies, you would file your personal injury lawsuit in the Virginia General District Court that has jurisdiction.

Your Virginia boat accident lawyer can tell you which specific court is the appropriate court in which to resolve your dispute.

Additional Virginia Boating Accident Resources

Virginia boating law basics

Virginia watercraft owner's guide

Virginia boat license & registration information