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Huntington Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Fatal Jr. Lifeguard Boating Accident is Scheduled for Trial

December 31, 1969

The Orange County, California wrongful death case filed by the family of Alyssa Squirrell against the city of Huntington Beach will go to trial in May 2012. Squirrell is the 11-year-old junior lifeguard who died after she sustained serious injuries during a training exercise on July 14, 2009.

Squirrell was in the water with about 25 other Junior Lifeguards when the city boat's propeller struck her. She sustained serious lacerations to her legs and hips.

Although no criminal charges were filed against Lt. Greg Crow, who was operating the boat that struck Squirrell, her family's Huntington Beach boating accident lawsuit accuses him of negligence. Her family also claims that city employees did not obey a number of rules at the time, including one mandating that the boat be operated safely, another requiring boaters to slow down when they are within 100 feet of swimmers, and a rule regarding the adequate number of flotation devices that need to be kept on a vessel.

The family's Huntington Beach wrongful death case was put on hold after the city's insurance company sought to have any liability capped at about $26,000, which is the boat's value. Lawyers for Navigator's insurance cited federal admiralty law in their petition. The family's Huntington Beach boating accident lawyer, however, argued that the law is not applicable to cases involving injuries caused by negligence. A federal court judge denied the insurer's request earlier this year.

Unfortunately, accidents involving boat propellers do happen. For the victim, the injuries can be severe and even fatal.

You want to work with an Orange County, California boating accident law firm that knows how to prove liability in these types of cases--whether you are seeking damages from negligent boat operator or the manufacturer of a boat that had a dangerous defect that caused it to malfunction.

Just recently, another woman filed her wrongful death case against those she believes caused her sister's death last August. Esther Fujimoto was swimming when a boat propeller hit her. The media is reporting that the boat operator and the two passengers may have been drinking alcohol and smoking pot. They allegedly fled accident scene without helping Fujimoto, whose torso and lower abdomen were torn up. In the civil lawsuit the defendants are accused of failing to keep a proper lookout, not exercising reasonable care, driving under the influence, operating the boat in a manner that was negligent and reckless, and not get Fujimoto the medical help that she needed.

Earlier this year, a jury awarded another woman $30 million for her California boating accident injuries. Niki Bell's head was injured by a boat propeller after she and another person were thrown in the water. 80% of the blame was placed on manufacturer MasterCraft Boat Co. for products liability over a design flaw that caused the boat to become partially submerged during a low speed turn. Boat operator Jerry Montz was found 20% liable. Evidence showed that he had been drinking when the incident happened.

Trial date set in junior lifeguard wrongful death suit, OC Register, November 28, 2011

Wrongful death suit filed against boaters in fatal Pineview accident, Deseret News, November 9, 2011

Jury awards $30 million to Chico woman for boat accident, Sacramento Bee, June 8, 2010


More Blog Posts:

11-Year-Old Orange County, California Junior Life Guard Dies in Huntington Beach Boating Accident, California Injury Lawyers, July 15, 2009

Huntington Beach Boat Accident Blast Injures Eight People, California Injury Lawyers, November 26, 2011

Huntington Beach Wrongful Death Claim Seeks Damages from City After Boat Strikes Jr. Lifeguard During Training, California Injury Lawyers, December 2, 2009