Boat Accident Settlement Amounts

A Texas jury awarded $3.8 million to a man to who brought a defective design product liability lawsuit against Brunswick after a boating accident in 2007. The jury found that the man’s leg became tangled in the boat’s propeller because the boat did not have guards and covers to protect boaters from getting stuck in the propeller.

Thirteen million boats travel each year on our nation’s waterways. Last year there were 3,489 boating accident injuries that resulted in 710 deaths.

Boat Accident Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements

  • 2023, Maryland: $8,000,000 Verdict.The accident happened on the York River in Virginia when a sealing plug became dislodged from a pressurized pipe, resulting in a skull fracture and serious brain injury. The injury impacted the man’s personality, and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder triggered by the traumatic brain injury. His deteriorating condition made him unemployable. The company contracted for the work at the York River Treatment Plant, was found negligent for not providing a hazard-free workplace. The suit claimed negligence as the company’s president and the foreman didn’t heed the warning tags or instruction manual related to the sealing plug, which led to the accident. The victim and his wife received an $8 million jury verdict in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Five million dollars was awarded to the man and $3 million to his wife for loss of companionship. The full financial award is assured as the lawsuit was under maritime law, which doesn’t come under Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages.
  • 2021, Minnesota: $27,624 Verdict. A man went lake fishing with his two children in his boat. Another boat struck them. The man suffered personal injuries. He required medical treatments. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault boat operator. He claimed he recklessly operated his watercraft. The jury awarded $27,624.
  • 2021, Wisconsin: $850,000 Verdict. A steering equipment representative oversaw a recently built tugboat’s operation. He observed from its galley. The captain made a significant maneuver that caused the vessel to pitch. The man was thrown around the galley. He suffered a cervical injury and a traumatic brain injury. The man underwent a neck procedure. He alleged negligence against the tugboat manufacturer. The man claimed the captain failed to warn of the maneuver. He received $850,000.
  • 2021, Georgia: $200,000,000 Verdict. A 7-year-old boy was on a boat with his relatives. His great-uncle operated it. The boat crossed a wake. It took on water. The boy fell from the vessel. His great-uncle reversed the boat. He did not know that his great-nephew was in the water. The boy was struck by the propeller. His body became entrapped. The boy bled significantly. He subsequently drowned. The boy’s family alleged defective design against the boat manufacturer. They claimed it designed a vessel that was prone to bow swamping and failed to warn of this defect. The jury awarded $200,000,000.
  • 2020, Missouri: $2,000,000 Settlement. A man attended a company retreat at a lakeside resort. He was on a rental pontoon boat with his coworkers. Everyone on the boat was intoxicated at the time. The vessel operator cut the throttle back upon reaching the no-wake zone. The man, who stood by the boat’s front railing, fell into the lake. His left arm was cut by the propeller. The man suffered a cutaneous nerve laceration. He was brought to the ER. The man underwent emergency arm surgery. The surgical team saved his arm. The man alleged negligence against his employer. He claimed negligent entrustment. This case settled for $1,000,000.
  • 2019, California: $23,000,000 Verdict. A 22-year-old woman and her twelve coworkers rode on a rental boat. They also went tubing. The boat operator attempted to retrieve the woman. He tried to shift into neutral. Instead, he left the vessel in idle reverse. A coworker on the boat deployed a swim ladder. The woman swam toward it. While reaching for the ladder, the woman’s right leg and left foot became caught between the propellers. Her coworkers pulled her lifejacket up to prevent her from drowning. Forty minutes later, first responders arrived and freed the woman. She underwent an above-the-knee right leg amputation. The woman alleged negligence against the marina. She claimed its staff failed to give safety instructions on propeller strikes and tubing and provided a boat that lacked safety devices. The woman received $23,000,000.
  • 2019, Missouri: $1,600,000 Settlement. Two young adults were in a boat that hit a rock bluff head-on. They suffered fatal injuries. The two’s families alleged negligence against the boat owner. They claimed negligent entrustment. This case settled for $1,600,000.
  • 2019, Virginia: $1,000,000 Settlement. A man was fishing on his boat. He was run over by a tugboat that pushed a barge. The man drowned. His family alleged negligence against the tug boat captain. They claimed he operated the boat despite having his vision obstructed by the barge. This case settled for $1,000,000.
  • 2019, Louisiana: $3,308,094 Verdict. A 22-year-old laborer helped load a generator from a vessel. At the same time, the boat “twin screwed” to remain in place. Instead of staying in place, it departed from the dock. The man fell into the water. He attempted to climb back into the boat. The man unintentionally pulled the generator that ultimately struck his head. He suffered a head laceration and a C4-6 injury. The man received 25 staples. He also underwent a fusion procedure. The man alleged that his employer failed to maintain a safe work environment while the ship’s owner failed to properly dock the boat. He received $3,308,094.
  • 2018, Idaho: $600,000 Verdict. Two 21-year-old boat passengers were killed when their boat was struck by a wake boat. Their families alleged negligence against the wake boat operator. They claimed he failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. The jury awarded $600,000.
  • 2018, Missouri: $4,500,000 Verdict. A 50-something deckhand worked on a tugboat. The captain lost control of the vessel upon leaving the dock. The tugboat turned sideways, struck a barge, and tipped over. Its engine compartment flooded. The vessel became submerged. The man drowned. His family alleged negligence against the tugboat operator. They claimed it lacked safety measures that would have prevented the incident. The jury awarded a $4,500,000 verdict.
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