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Wrongful death claim possible when no criminal charges are filed

The point of taking safety classes is to be able to perform some activity with less chance of having an accident. For example, those learning to hunt or ride motorcycles typically take safety classes so they can enjoy the activity with greater knowledge of how to handle dangerous situations. Unfortunately, a family in New York is mourning the loss of their son whose death tragically occurred while he was taking a boating safety class. While no criminal wrongdoing is suspected in his death, there may be cause for a wrongful death action in civil court.

The 12-year-old boy and two others in the yacht club class were learning what to do if a boat capsized and sank. As part of the course, the boat was intentionally capsized, and the boy and his instructor were in the water. A second instructor then came along in an inflatable, motorized rescue boat and pulled the boy on board to take him ashore. However, when the 18-year-old instructor accelerated his boat, the boy slipped off and was struck by the boat's propeller blade.

Again, the instructor pulled the injured boy onto his boat and began CPR until rescue crews arrived. The child was transported to the hospital where he died of a massive chest wound. The community at the yacht club reacted with disbelief, including the instructor who had to be hospitalized for shock.

New York parents in similar situations may be asking many questions to learn how such a tragedy could occur. They may question whether the yacht club properly trained its young instructors or if other safety precautions could have been taken during the exercise. An attorney can discuss such questions with grieving families and help them determine if the circumstances warrant the filing of a wrongful death claim.

Source: CBS New York, "Police Call Death Of 12-Year-Old Boy During Sailing Lesson An Accident", Magdalena Doris, July 19, 2017

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