Alcohol was a Factor in $4 Million Wrongful Death Settlement after a Virginia Boating Accident
Boat accidents can be tragic. Often they are fueled by alcohol and in remote locations. A recent tragedy led to a $4 million wrongful death settlement after a Virginia boating accident.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly noted the case was filed after the death of a boater in August 2017. Two friends went for a boat ride in Lancaster County, Virginia. The boat belonged to one of the friend’s fathers who had given him permission to use it.
The pilot was accused of slamming the boat into a bulkhead near where Carter’s Creek flows into the Rappahannock River. The impact threw the other boater into shallow water along the shoreline, according to the VLW report.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in this case. Discovery later revealed the pilot was aware an impact had occurred and his friend was missing.
However, he restarted the boat’s engine, abandoning his friend in the water and returned to the dock, according to the lawsuit. He was accused of going to bed without even contacting the authorities for help.
On the afternoon of Aug. 11, last year local police officers found and identified the body of Graham McCormick where he drowned in Carter’s Creek.
The incident resulted in both civil and criminal proceedings. The dead boater’s parents sought justice for their son. They qualified as co-administrators of his estate and later filed suit against their son’s friend on multiple grounds.
The wrongful death lawsuit included an action against the pilot’s parents for negligent entrustment. The estate prepared evidence that the boater was drinking heavily on the night of the crash and that he had a long history of incidents relating to alcohol abuse including multiple criminal convictions.
Because the deceased boater was unmarried and had no children at the time of his death, Virginia’s wrongful death statute restricted the estate’s recovery in this case to non-economic damages. The boater who died was a 31-year-old finance analyst who lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Richmond area. His parents were devastated by his death, reported Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The dead boater’s family prepared compelling testimony about the quality of his life and the gap left by their son’s untimely death.
Attorneys working for the family created a video presentation detailing the deceased’s life and death. The family’s heartfelt statements demonstrated the fact the loss of a beloved son and brother was worth far more than any economic damages would have been.
A $4 million wrongful death settlement after the Virginia boating accident was reached at mediation within six months of filing and before any discovery depositions were held.
The family of the deceased was represented by Christopher A. Abel and Justin G. Guthrie of Norfolk; David N. Ventker and Marissa M. Henderson of Norfolk and Wyatt B. Durrette Jr. and Christine A. Williams, Richmond
Every year lives are needlessly lost on the waterways of Virginia due to alcohol. The number of boating accidents in Virginia rise over the summer months.
If a boater caused a death due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs or was reckless, a wrongful death settlement after a Virginia boating accident may be reached.
Please call our experienced Virginia Beach boating accident attorneys if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident on the waters of Virginia or North Carolina. Call us at (757) 455-0077.