Young Girl Injured in Boating Accident Claims Defective Product

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a personal injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit 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 personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Lydia alleged mild traumatic brain injury, which caused memory loss and problems with her focus and concentration; disc herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1; chronic pain syndrome; and emotional distress.


On Aug. 20, 2005, plaintiff Lydia Harris, 15, a student, was involved in a boating accident in El Dorado County.

Lydia was attending a weeklong retreat at a lake through her church. At the time of the accident, Lydia and another girl were being pulled by a boat on a Manta Ray, which is an inflatable device shaped like the eponymous sea creature that is designed to be pulled on the water’s surface and to fly above the water’s surface when the boat achieves a certain speed. Hansen fell off the Manta Ray when it flew above the water’s surface unexpectedly, causing her to fall into the water.

The church’s youth pastor, Kirk Oven, owned the Manta Ray and decided to use it at the retreat without teaching the youths how to use it. According to the plaintiff, the boat’s driver, Ted Erik, appeared to be inattentive to the environmental conditions and the girls on the Manta Ray.

Through a guardian ad litem, Lydia sued and then settled with the church and three church representatives for $275,000.

Lydia sued Sevylor Inc. — which designed, manufactured and sold the Manta Ray — alleging products liability. She charged that the Manta Ray was designed defectively and that it included insufficient warnings. She claimed that the design caused the product to be susceptible to unexpected and dangerous movements from environmental and driving conditions. She contended that the warnings did not notify the user of potential hazards resulting from environmental and driving conditions.

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

Sevylor argued that the product was not designed defectively and that the warnings were sufficient. In addition, Sevylor argued that the boat’s driver and the church were responsible for the accident.

Lydia underwent a discectomy and a fusion surgery to repair her disc herniations. She claimed that she required future treatment for her chronic pain syndrome and psychological problems.

Hansen asked the jury to award $427,218.65 for past medical expenses, $950,000 for future medical expenses and damages for pain and suffering, for a total of $9,055,618.

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

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