Sacramento Boat Accident Results in Permanent Brain Damage, Part 1 of 3

The following blog entry is written to illustrate how a brain injury lawsuit could develop and resolve. Reviewing this summary should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)


According to Plaintiff: On June 9, 2006, Plaintiffs, ages 22 and 23, both students at ABC State University, were passengers in a XYZ wakeboarding boat on a lake in Sacramento County, California. XYZ holds itself out as a world leader in recreational wakeboard and ski boat manufacturing. XYZ sells recreational wakeboard and ski vessels throughout the U.S. and internationally. Defendant, a 27-year-old farmer and the boat’s owner, was towing a wakeboarder who fell. Just prior to that wakeboarding run, a number of people had moved to the bow in order to produce a quality wake for the boarder and because the boat was not getting “on plane.” Defendant slowed the vessel to 5 mph, then made a slow 180-degree turn to retrieve the fallen boarder. After completing the turn and traveling partway back to the boarder at a speed of from 3 to 5 mph, the bow of the boat suddenly swamped without warning. The force of water carried both plaintiffs off the bow and into the lake. The operator thought that it was a wake and accelerated to get through the wake. The propeller struck Plaintiff One in the head, fracturing her skull, slicing through her left frontal lobe and left eye. Plaintiff One’s injuries proved nearly fatal, but she was provided tremendous medical care, which saved her. Plaintiff One was left with significant, permanent brain damage. The propeller slashed Plaintiff Two across her lower back, leaving deep and permanent scars plus muscle and nerve damage.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiffs sued defendant XYZ Boat Co., the boat’s manufacturer, for strict product liability on theories of design defect and failure to warn, and for negligence in design and warning. They also sued owner/driver Defendant for negligent operation of the boat.

Plaintiffs alleged that the design of the wakeboard boat was defective in several ways. First, the broad “pickle fork” bow hull design featured a “reverse shear” that brought the front of the bow close to the waterline, decreased “freeboard,” and increased the propensity of the boat to take on water over the bow. Second, an anchor locker located just above the waterline at the front of the boat had a large hole at its base that allowed water to flow into the hull of the boat, unknown to the operator. These defects, plus an oversized bow seating area that invited a large number of passengers to sit in the front of the boat, combined to cause the bow to submerge without warning during normal, foreseeable operations. XYZ never tested the vessel to determine its operating characteristics or assessed the risks of operating the boat at its rated capacity of 2,928 pounds or 18 people.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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