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Wrongful Death of Passenger in Boating Accident Results in Seven-figure Settlement

Leesfield & Partners secured a seven-figure confidential settlement for the family of a young woman who was killed in a single-boat accident. The accident happened under the cover of darkness and was caused by operator error. Our investigation revealed that speed and alcohol were the contributing factors to an accident that should never have occurred. The operator traveled above the speed limit with a blood alcohol level above the 0.08% limit. Traveling at high-speed, impaired, with limited to no visibility, the operator crashed his boat into a concrete dock. The extremely violent impact caused our young and unsuspecting female passenger to be thrown overboard along with the rest of the passengers. She was airlifted to a hospital with critical injuries but ultimately did not survive.

Operator Error is Leading Cause of Boating Accidents
Last June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued its yearly Boating Accident Statistical Report, and there was an unfortunate increase in statewide boating-related fatalities. In 2022, Florida saw a total of 735 boating accidents, marking a decrease of 16 incidents compared to 2021. However, the sobering aspect of the report was the 65 lives lost in these accidents, which represented an increase of five fatalities compared to the previous year. Notably, since 2003, falls overboard have consistently been the leading type of fatal accident, with drowning as the leading cause of death.

The report also shed light on the primary causes of reported boating accidents, with nearly half (43%) attributed to improper lookout or attention and operator inexperience. The FWC emphasized the responsibility of all vessel operators to maintain 360-degree awareness since hazards may arise from any direction. Operator inexperience often stemmed from limited familiarity with the vessel, the local area, the time of day or night, or weather conditions.

Furthermore, a lack of boater education emerged as a contributing factor in many accidents. FWC Lt. Nicholas Korade disclosed that while the number of Boating Safety Education Cards issued in 2022 had tripled since 2010, a concerning number of operators involved in fatal accidents (45) and reportable accidents (515 out of 926) had not received formal boating education. The FWC strongly encouraged boaters of all ages and experience levels to enroll in a boating safety course to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the water.

Representing Victims of Boating / Maritime Accidents for Six Decades Throughout Florida
Leesfield & Partners has represented many clients who were involved in water-related accidents. Most recently, Leesfield & Partners attorneys obtained back to back judgments for $17 million and $15 million following a parasailing accident in the Florida Keys that saw two young adults lose their lives.

No case ever lacks difficulty or challenges, but our firm is renowned for successfully tackling complex cases with unwavering dedication to our clients. Since the early days of the practice in the 1970s, Leesfield & Partners has all but continued to prove that with extensive resources, experience, and exceptional legal skills, litigating against individuals and corporations alike matters not, only results matter. We take pride in being the personal injury firm to whom other attorneys across the nation send their injured clients. Follow this link to read more about our past results and about our firm’s history. Should you need to speak with us, call our office at (305) 854-4900 or fill out our online inquiry form and we will contact you shortly.

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