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$________ Admiralty – Failure to slow down or warn passengers when approaching wake at high rate of speed – Plaintiff passenger sustains burst compression fracture – Pain, numbness and tingling still present.

Bristol County, MA

In this admiralty matter, the plaintiff, a passenger on the defendant’s boat, alleged that the defendant operator was negligent in operating the boat at a high rate of speed and failing to slow the boat or warn passengers when approaching a wake. As a result, the plaintiff was launched into the air and landed on the deck landing striking her lower back. She sustained an L1 burst compression fracture. The defendant denied liability and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

The female plaintiff was best friends with the defendant boat owner’s daughter. As such, the plaintiff was invited aboard the defendant’s 27-foot whaling vessel for a trip on July 4th. On the way back from the trip to Martha’s Vineyard, the defendant operator hit a wake at a high rate of speed and without warning the passengers. The plaintiff, who had been sitting on the front of the boat with her back to the front of the boat and holding onto the railing, was launched into the air upon impact with the wake. She slammed down on the bench and then let go of the railing when the boat hit another wake which again launched her into the air, higher this time, and landed on the deck of the boat.

The plaintiff experienced immediate pain in her lower back. She was diagnosed with an L1 burst compression fracture, compression with kyphosis and retropulsion. The plaintiff continues to experience pain, numbness and tingling in the area. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant operator alleging that the operator was negligent in failing to operate the boat in a safe manner, approaching the wake at a high rate of speed and in failing to warn the plaintiff and other passengers of the wake.

The defendant denied liability and maintained that the defendant did nothing wrong in the operation of the boat. The defendant argued that the wake appeared suddenly and no evasive action could occur to reduce the impact on the boat or its passengers. The defendant also disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and alleged damages maintaining that the plaintiff had preexisting back problems prior to the incident.The parties agreed to resolve the plaintiff’s claim for the sum of $________ prior to trial.

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