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Drowning Wrongful Death Occurred While Trained Medical Personnel Were Prevented from Assisting Boat Racer

This bizarre case ended in the needless death of a powerboat racer. The wrongful death suit alleges gross negligence.

This case happened during a world championship for powerboats, and resulted in the drowning death of a well known, long time racer, who was experienced when it came to this kind of sport. The man was at the helm of his race boat with the boat’s owner when it overturned during the final lap of the second race. The owner was able to climb through an escape hatch in the cockpit, but the race driver was trapped in his seat.

The driver was alive and not injured immediately after the accident, and tried desperately to free himself from his safety harness. He was able to breathe using an emergency air tank. Overhead, there was a crew of certified dive paramedics waiting to deploy. However, for some strange reason they were not given the okay signal to go ahead. Instead, the Association’s president designated two other untrained individuals as rescuers. He evidently wanted to save money and not use the trained rescue team.

The delay in appointing two other inexperienced people to perform a rescue resulted in the boat starting to ship and sink, shutting the hatch. The race driver ran out of air and drowned. The wrongful death lawsuit filed stated if the defendants had followed the specified rules, regulations and protocols for a situation like this, the driver would have still been alive. The suit further suggests that the president would not allow rescue personnel to perform pre-race safety checks to get to know the features on the race boats.

This is likely to be a complex case, fraught with he said/they said moments. In situations like this, that is virtually inevitable when so many people are involved and have so much at stake. Will this case win? It may. That will, in large part, depend on the kind of proof there is relating to the president choosing to use inexperienced people to attempt a rescue. This is where there may be a credibility issue that the court will have to weigh.

If you have lost someone you cared about and need information about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, do not hesitate to call an Austin personal injury lawyer. It is their job to assess the case and explain how a wrongful death lawsuit differs from criminal charges, and what to expect should a case go to court. For justice and equity, hire an Austin personal injury lawyer. It’s the best investment you could make.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

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