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Lawsuit Filed After Deadly Labor Day Boat Crash


The parents of a survivor of a deadly Labor Day boat crash have filed a lawsuit against the parents of the girl who was celebrating her birthday. One person, a seventeen-year-old girl, died. Six others had to be taken to the hospital. The boat capsized after it was driven into a channel marker near Boca Chita Key. 11 of the 14 people who were on the boat were injured, according to the report.

According to the lawsuit, one teen was left permanently disabled as a result of the boat crash. The parents allege the teens were allowed to drink alcohol which also led to further injuries. They further claim that the driver of the boat was also drinking at the time of the crash. If so, the parents who owned the boat won’t have much of a defense to the claims that they are liable for the teen’s injuries.

Analyzing the lawsuit 

This will be a difficult lawsuit to defend for the defendants. Even without allegations of drinking while boating, they would be liable for damages related to the crash. The allegations related to drinking mean that they could be held liable for punitive damages which are awarded in cases of gross negligence or wanton carelessness.

In most cases related to a boat accident, the defendant would try to impute negligence either on the plaintiff or on a third party. It seems unlikely that there is a third party that could have contributed negligence to this accident. You can’t blame the channel marker for an accident of this nature. Further, the plaintiff was not in control of the boat at the time of the accident and the adult that was in control of the boat is alleged to have been drinking.

Gross negligence 

In this case, the parents are alleging that their teenaged daughter suffered permanent injuries because they were allowed to drink alcohol while the operator of the boat was also drinking. It remains unclear yet if criminal charges have been filed against the boat operator. But with one individual dead and 6 others requiring hospitalization, it may be a foregone conclusion.

The boat operator could have charges of boating while intoxicating leading to death, which could incur a similar penalty as DUI manslaughter, with a mandatory minimum four-year sentence. Then you would add 6 counts of DUI with serious bodily injury. If convicted on those charges, the personal injury lawsuit filed by the parents of the injured girl would be settled on the matter of negligence. But a conviction or guilty plea must come first.

Talk to a Miami Boat Accident Lawyer Today 

Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford helps those injured in boating accidents file personal injury lawsuits against negligent boaters. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin preparing your claim immediately.



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  • American Association for Justice

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
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