Family of boating accident victim launches lawsuit against owner, driver

Family says owner was negligent to allow driver to operate boat despite drinking

The family of a woman who was killed in a boating accident on the Delaware River in 2012 has launched a wrongful death lawsuit against the boat's owner and the driver, according to 69 News. The lawsuit claims that the owner negligently allowed the driver to operate the boat, despite knowing that the driver had been drinking earlier in the day.

Boat capsized after hitting rocks

According to the Express-Times, the accident occurred on the evening of June 23, 2012. The driver of the boat launched from Harmony Township and headed north. Soon after passing a railroad bridge between Harmony and Lower Mount Bethel Townships he struck a boulder in the river and the boat capsized.

While the driver and owner of the boat managed to make it safely to shore, the deceased woman was ejected from the vehicle. After five days of searching, her body was discovered in Williams Township. The mother of two died of blunt force trauma.

Owner had been drinking with driver

The driver was given a blood alcohol test four hours after the accident and registered a 0.9 blood alcohol content level. New Jersey's legal limit is 0.8. Furthermore, experts estimate that his blood alcohol level was likely around 0.15 at the time of the accident. The driver is currently awaiting trial on manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter charges.

The lawsuit contends that the driver was negligent by driving while intoxicated and that he was speeding at the time of the accident. Experts also say that the area of the river where the accident occurred is known for hazardous rocks during low water levels. Water levels were indeed low at the time of the accident.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the owner of the boat should never have allowed the other man to drive. The family claims that the owner had been drinking with the driver earlier in the day and, therefore, should have known that the driver was intoxicated. The family is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and legal fees.

Personal injury lawsuit

While most drunk driving accidents occur on roads and highways, as the above story shows drinking and boating can be equally dangerous. Any accident, whether it occurs on a river or on the road, can leave victims and their families with not only emotional and physical pain to contend with, but the financial expenses of lost income and mounting medical bills.

Anybody injured by a negligent driver or other party should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Victims have rights in holding negligent parties accountable for their actions and an experienced lawyer can help victims make sure those rights are protected.