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Wrongful death claim may follow fatal boating accident

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is as unlawful as driving a car while impaired. A 34-year-old Florida man has to face the consequences of alleged drunk boating after an accident that killed another boat operator in Sept. 2015. He was arrested on manslaughter charges on a recent Wednesday afternoon, and he might also have to face a wrongful death claim in a civil court.

According to court documents, the Plantation man traveled at a speed of 57 mph. Although GPS equipment indicated that he slowed down to 41 mph just before impact, it was significantly faster than prescribed for the idle zone on the Intracoastal Waterway where the incident occurred at about 8:15 p.m. on that day. This was determined during a forensic investigation.

State investigators reported that the accused man admitted to having three alcoholic drinks before taking to the water. However, toxicology test results showed a blood-alcohol percentage of .10 when the incident occurred, exceeding the legal limit of .08 in Florida. The boater said he noticed other boats on the stretch of waterway that was particularly dimly lit, but he failed to see the vessel into which he crashed. The collision caused the death of another boat operator.

Regardless of the outcome of criminal charges against an alleged drunk boater, the surviving family members of a person who dies in a boating accident may be entitled to pursue financial relief. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, they may recover the costs of a funeral and burial along with emotional damages sustained. While the prospect of navigating such a claim may seem overwhelming, an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance.

Source:, "Boater charged with manslaughter in fatal crash on Intracoastal Waterway", Doug Phillips, Jan. 25, 2018

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