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Each year, more people suffer serious injuries or are killed in boating accidents. In many cases, those terrible boat crashes are preventable.

Nearly 11,000 vessels were involved in more than 5,000 recreational boating accidents during 2003. These accidents resulted in over 700 death and close to 4,000 injuries. Virginia is not immune to serious boat accident injuries and deaths. In 2010, 102 boat accidents occurred in Virginia. According to, and 14 of those accidents led to a loss of life.

Boating accidents may also result in severe injuries, unpaid medical bills, lost wages and permanent disabilities. How will the bills be paid? Many people mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance policy will cover injuries arising from a personal watercraft like a Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, or WaveRunner. Unfortunately, a majority of watercraft are not covered by homeowners policies.

Be sure to check with your insurance agent about proper coverage for liability and actions on a watercraft. If you do not have coverage, consider buying a separate policy to cover the watercraft.

The major causes of boating accidents in Virginia, and in other areas across the country, are operator inattention, reckless boat operation, speeding, careless passenger or skier behavior, and alcoho use.

When we take on a boat accident case, there are several questions that we want answered:

  • Was the at-fault boat operator intoxicated?
  • Was the at-fault boat operator speeding or operating the boat negligently?
  • Did the at-fault boat operator comply with the Virginia Administrative Code regulations for operating a boat or other watercraft?
  • Was the at-fault operator following your vessel too closely?
  • Did the at-fault operator cross the path of your vessel?

These are only a few of the questions and issues that may require detailed investigation and review by the Virginia boat accident injury lawyers at my firm. To learn more about Virginia boat accidents and what laws may apply, check out this article.


About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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