There are few things that can be as relaxing and enjoyable as a day out on the water. Taking in fresh air and sunshine while on a boat can be combined with fun activities like wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, and fishing and this is exactly what millions of people choose to do each year. However, the water isn’t always safe.
Sisters Injured In Boat Collision
During Memorial Day weekend in 2009, two sisters joined several friends on a 15-foot skiff. The group enjoyed several hours of fun before disaster struck.
Another boater behind the wheel of a 31-foot Boston Whaler was returning from a mechanical sea trial and failed to keep a proper lookout. His much larger vessel struck the skiff causing extensive damage to both the boat and those onboard.
The first sister, who is now 29-years-old, sustained a shattered pelvis for which she required open reduction surgery and internal fixation with metal plates and screws. She was also diagnosed with a ruptured spleen which had to be removed entirely and a traumatic brain injury. She now has extensive scarring on her abdomen, hips, and legs. She will likely need a total hip replacement in the future.
The second sister, who is now 26-years-old, was found to have fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis, shattered teeth, a collapsed lung, lung contusions, concussion, and nerve damage in her left foot. She also lost her senses of smell and taste entirely.
The victims of the accident were flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital but sadly, despite doctors best efforts, one of their friends did not survive.
In addition to their horrific injuries, both sisters continue to suffer from PTSD caused by the crash.
Millions Awarded To Cover Boating Injuries
Both women decided to pursue legal action against the man who was driving the Boston Whaler which crashed into their skiff. After a lengthy trial, a jury determined that the other boater was indeed at fault and awarded the sisters compensation.
$5.6 million was awarded to the 29-year-old and $3.6 million was awarded to the 26-year-old.
What Is Compensation Meant To Pay For?
When a jury awards a plaintiff with compensation they are encouraged to review all of the losses that have been sustained by that plaintiff as well as any future losses that are expected. For example, in this case, the older sister will eventually require a total hip replacement and so that is a future loss that she can be compensated for.
Although no amount of money will erase the horror of the crash and the physical pain they have suffered through, monetary compensation can help to provide a more comfortable future and a financially safe one.
How Do I Know Who Was At Fault After A Boating Accident?
Obviously, it’s impossible to paint yellow lines on water which is why it’s important for everyone to observe the rules and know who has the right of way. But often, accidents happen because boaters fail to:
- Maintain a reasonable speed.
- Keep a proper lookout.
- Use proper lighting during the evening and nighttime hours.
- Refrain from boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you’ve been involved in a boating accident while on vacation the best thing you can do is contact an attorney as soon as possible. Not only will the attorney determine who was at fault but they can begin the process of collecting evidence which will support a legal complaint.
What Evidence Can Support My Claim?
When pursuing a lawsuit it’s always important to collect as much evidence as possible. This may include:
- Video Surveillance
- Electronic Boat Logs
- Witness Statements
- Police Reports
- Medical Records
- Insurance Paperwork
It’s important to keep everything pertaining to the accident even if you aren’t sure that it could be helpful.
Can I Sue If I Was On The At-Fault Boat?
If you were a guest on the boat which was driven by the at-fault driver and you sustained injuries, you may be able to pursue legal action against the driver. Basically, anyone who was hurt by the person whose negligence resulted in the collision may have the right to file a lawsuit.