SCLA Staff: Richard N. Shapiro, Attorney; Kevin M. Duffan, Attorney; Roz Hughes, Paralegal
Court Date: Settled prior to trial
Case Description: Virginia (VA) Ski Boat owner injures leg when falling through swim deck due to negligent design.
Type of Injury: Foot and ankle injury; nerve damage.
What Happened: Lake Gaston is a popular vacation spot for residents of Virginia (VA), North Carolina (NC) and other nearby locations, as well as a major source of water for Virginia Beach residents. Our client was enjoying his new ski boat on Lake Gaston in Virginia (VA) with his family when the day took an unfortunate and tragic turn. After having fun wakeboarding, he stepped onto the inner deck of his boat where the seat cushions were located, and his foot slipped through the cushions and into a crack between the cushions and seat back. His foot then became trapped in the open slot between the engine cover and deck. He remained trapped for over 15 minutes, terrifying his family that was with him. When he finally was able to free himself, his foot and ankle had turned black around the edges and he was bleeding and in considerable pain.
Outcome: Confidential Settlement prior to trial.
Key Legal Strategy: There were two major hurdles that our firm had to overcome in this case. To prove liability, we hired a mechanical engineer that went to examine the boat in question and develop a report based on his findings. The engineer's opinion was that the defect in the boat represented a deviation in the industry standard for design and manufacture of small watercraft and was a hazard to personnel. This report was a critical piece of evidence in proving liability, as was ultimately instrumential in helping us settle the case. Secondly, even though the client's medical expenses were relatively low, he suffered a nerve injury that will cause him pain and discomfort for the rest of his life. In order to prove this fact, our client was examined by a physical therapist who prepared an impairment rating based on the AMA guidelines. This impairment rating showed the extent of the client's disability. Given the client's profession as a custom carpenter/contractor, this disability affected his ability to work.
Disclaimer: Please note that every case is different and these verdicts and settlements, while accurate, do not represent what we may obtain in your case.
Awarded: Confidential Settlement