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Parents Sue Lodge After Daughter Dies in Boating Accident


The parents of a 16-year-old Missouri girl who died in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake have filed a lawsuit against Big Cedar Lodge and other named defendants claiming that their rental boat was defective. The parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the lodge after their 16-year-old daughter was run over by a boat near Breezy Point, according to a recent court filing.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff and his children were vacationing in the Branson area when they rented a pontoon boat from the defendant. They took the boat to a cliff-jumping area and the father stayed behind on the boat as his children and their friends jumped off the cliff into the water. A short time after, another boater yelled at the father to tell him his boat was drifting too close to another boat. As the father went to move the boat, a wake struck the boat causing the father to fall forward. Either his arm or the driver’s seat struck the throttle. The driver’s seat broke and as the father was falling to the ground, the boat accelerated forward striking his daughter and another child before crashing into the cliffs. The daughter died due to injuries caused by the boat’s propeller. The other child sustained minor injuries.

The plaintiffs claim that the boat was defective because the seat was not sturdy enough to prevent it from striking the throttle. They also claim that the boat did not have a throttle interlock device which would have prevented the boat from going from neutral to forward simply due to a wayward seat. The lawsuit further alleges that the employees of the lodge failed to warn the father about potential issues related to the boat.

Elements of negligence 

The plaintiffs are claiming that the lodge rented them a defective boat that allowed a terrible accident to occur. In this case, the boat was accidentally triggered from neutral into forward due to another boat’s wake striking the boat. The defendants have filed lawsuits against the lodge, the company that rented the boat, and the company that manufactured the boat. The defendants will likely claim that this is a freak accident which, while very sad, they did not contribute negligence to.

The boat will be compared to a typical boat of the same type to see if another type of boat would have prevented the death from occurring. In other words, would another boat of the same type have adequate safety features to prevent the boat from so easily going from neutral into forward or reverse? If so, then the company that rented the boat and its manufacturer would be on the hook for this wrongful death case. If a mechanism that prevents the throttle from being accidentally jiggered into another gear is standard on boats, as seems likely, then the plaintiffs have a very strong claim against the defendants.

Talk to a Miami Boat Accident Injury Attorney Today 

Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford, P.A. represents the interests of those injured in boat accidents. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin going over your claims right away.



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