On September 2, 2018, at approximately 12:30PM, a 15-year old boy fell off a 25-foot watercraft and was struck in the head by the boat propeller, thus sustaining fatal injuries. The incident occurred near Kemp Channel in the Florida Keys, close to Stock Island.

According to reports, the boy’s father was operating the boat, which was carrying eight passengers in total.  Reports indicate that the boat was adrift for some time when the father suddenly slipped and fell on the engine throttle, causing the vessel to unexpectedly accelerate. This led the boy to lose his balance and fall overboard, at which time he struck his head on the propeller.

The teen was immediately taken to Cudjoe Key where paramedics transported him to Lower Keys Medical Center and, unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries.

We are deeply saddened by this news.  By all accounts, the teenager was a beloved student and friend, as well as an avid fisherman (as is his father). And the thought that the incident might possibly have been prevented makes it that much more tragic.  Questions loom why the vessel’s engine was left running albeit in idle with no apparent need to navigate the vessel.

Boat Operators Must Exercise Caution

Boat operators — just like drivers — have a duty to exercise reasonable care when operating their vessels so as to avoid causing injury to others.  Failure to safely operate the boat may qualify as negligence and expose the individual operating the boat to significant damages liability.

Whether certain behavior constitutes negligence depends on the circumstances at issue. For example, speeding through heavily-trafficked waters would likely be deemed negligence.

Genuine, inevitable mistakes do happen and liability will not necessarily attach in every situation.

Speak to an Experienced Boating Accident Lawyer for Guidance

If you have suffered injuries in a boating accident due to the fault of another, you may have a right of action for damages.  Boat accident litigation may seem straightforward, but it can be rather complicated in some cases. For example, if you’re injured in a boating accident involving a defective engine, you may be entitled to bring independent claims against both the boat operator and the boat manufacturer. It’s important that you consult with a team of boating accident lawyers who have a proven track record of success in resolving complex marine litigation involving Navigational Rules of the Road.

At Brais Law Firm, our attorneys — some of whom are Board Certified in Admiralty and Maritime Law — bring to bear over 75 years of combined trial experience advocating on behalf of injured clients in a range of maritime accident scenarios, including those that involve small watercraft.  We are deeply committed to the well-being of our clients, and to that end, we have adopted an approach to litigation that is comprehensive and aggressive.  We work tirelessly to secure maximum compensation for our clients.

Curious about whether your claims are actionable?  Call 1-800-499-0551 or submit an online claim form through our contact us page to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced boating accident lawyer here at Brais Law.

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