In early February of 2020, Florida State Representative Fiona McFarland made public her intentions to submit a piece of legislation colloquially referred to as “Ethan’s Law.”
Ethan Isaac, a 10-year-old boy, was killed in a sailing accident in November of 2020. Ethan was attending his youth sailing practice at Sarasota Youth Sailing Inc. when a separate motorized boat struck him.
Ethan’s sailing coach reportedly lost his balance after triggering the throttle of the boat. Unmanned, the boat launched in Ethan’s direction and fatally wounded him with its propeller. Two other children were also injured in the incident.
The new piece of legislation introduced by Rep. McFarland would require operators of watercraft less than 26 feet long to wear a kill switch physically attached to their bodies. If the driver of the boat were to be ejected from their craft or otherwise distanced from the controls, the kill switch would be triggered and the motor would stop immediately.
Ethan’s Law, which was drawn up with input from the victim’s parents after the death, has received broad support. Moreover, similar legislation already exists in other states, and the United States Coast Guard is planning to adopt kill-switches by 2021.
Prior to his untimely passing, Ethan was in sixth grade at Pine View School for the Gifted in Osprey, Florida. His family has indicated that working on the bill with Rep. McFarland has given them a new outlook, and they are hopeful that once in place, Ethan’s Law will prevent future boating deaths.
Boating accidents can result in serious personal injuries as well as death. And while such incidents are often considered accidents, this does not mean that nothing could have been done to prevent them. In fact, if a strong case can be made in proving that the negligence of an individual or business resulted in the accident, victims can seek substantial compensation for their damages.
Exorbitant medical bills are only some of the damages regularly encountered by boating accident victims. The trauma, anguish, and emotional pain of surviving family members should never be overlooked, nor is it when calculating the compensation amount for a specific boating death case.
Determining exactly who was responsible for a boating injury or death can be more difficult than it seems. It may be that a private boat rental company is liable for permitting an inexperienced driver to cause an accident. On the other hand, it’s possible that a claim must be made against the insurance policy of a private boat owner.
Common sense is not always translated into law. As a result, seeking out a boating accident attorney is highly recommended in these cases. An experienced boating accident lawyer can sit down with you and explain the legal options available to you. They should also be able to answer any questions you may have and speak to past cases that they have handled successfully. You should feel comfortable with your legal representative; you need to be able to confide in them and they should likewise confide in you.
The Aquatic Attorneys boating accident law firm knows that it takes to win a case, and they can help guide you through any legal obstacles that stand in your way. For a free boating injury consultation, contact our law firm now and schedule your case review. It costs nothing to learn more about your options, and if you chose to retain our legal services, you will not owe us any legal fees unless you win. No win, No fee.