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Boating Accidents Can Lead to an Amputation

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Boating Accidents Can Lead to an Amputation


When the weather starts to warm up, many people like to take their boat out on the water. While this is a great way to relax and have fun, it doesn’t come without risks. Accidents can occur with boats just as they can with cars. 

Like motor vehicles, many boats require a license to operate on the open water. This stems from the risks that come with operating this motor vehicle. Someone who gets involved in a boat accident can suffer traumatic injuries, just as they can in an auto accident. 

Types of Boating Injuries

Some of these injuries can be serious and include:

Head Injuries: Just like cars, many boats have a steering wheel as well; however, unlike cars, boats often lack a steering wheel. Without this, the body is often free to get tossed around in the event of a collision. When this happens, the head can collide with the hard surface of the boat. This could lead to a skull fracture or even a traumatic brain injury.

Lung Damage: Out of the open water, the lungs are always at risk. There is the potential for someone to sustain chest trauma if their torso strikes the side of the boat or a table. On the other hand, lung trauma can also result from a drowning or near-drowning incident. The lugs can fill with water and damage the very important air sacs on the inside. This can lead to lasting damage or even wrongful death.

Amputation Injury: Unfortunately, the potential for an amputation injury exists with a boat accident. If someone ends up falling overboard, they could get stuck in the propeller of the boat. If the boat is still on, the sharp blades of the propeller could slice someone’s arms or legs. A severe case could lead to a total amputation, as a recent tragic case report discussed.

A Case Report: Tragedy on the Water

Recently, a family was out on the water enjoying a warm day. The parents had brought their children out for a spin. During the day, the family started to shift positions in the boat, and all of a sudden, the front of the boat, or the bow, tipped beneath the crest of the water. As a result, the boat began to fill with water, and the boat continued to dip and tip more. Eventually, the boat tipped completely and capsized. Sadly, one of their young children was tossed from the boat. The boat was still running, and the child was caught in the blades of the propeller. The blades amputated one of his legs as a result. Tragically, he died due to the massive blood loss and drowning that resulted from his encounter with the boat propeller. The magnitude of this tragedy cannot be overstated.

How Did the Boating Accident Happen?

One of the many questions regarding this tragedy is how this happened in the first place. The boat tipped over and tossed the child from its body. This could have come from the uneven distribution of body weight across the boat; however, why couldn’t the boat handle it if this was the case? Was it adequately tested to make sure that it could support all of the people on the boat? Was there a diagram that clearly labeled where everyone could sit or stand on the boat? Was this incident avoidable? These are only some of the many questions that arise from a tragedy such as this.

Help from a Legal Professional

The case report discussed above was particularly tragic as no family should ever have to bury or mourn the death of their child. There are several points to highlight in the previous case, and the most important is that the boat capsized. The boat was not able to function for the purpose that it was intended. This point merits a full investigation that could reveal why this was. In addition to this investigation, there are numerous other ways that an experienced personal injury lawyer could provide assistance to a family in need. A trained lawyer can also help the family collect medical records so that these can be reviewed. They could also help to interpret the various jargon in the documents. They can help the family fill out paperwork that could be overwhelming for the average person. Sometimes, insurance companies could refuse to pay out claims related to these accidents. An attorney can help with this as well. 

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. If you or your loved one has lost a limb in a boating accident, please contact our injury lawyers for compassionate, free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our case history of verdicts and settlements and our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and AVVO.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 6.21.21]

Photo by Luke Bender on Unsplash

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