A day out on the water in March of 2022 turned deadly for Lindsey Patridge of New Hampshire when she was thrown overboard by a wave.
Partridge along with her boyfriend Jacob Smith, 24, were on vacation in Florida. They rented a 23-foot boat and were traveling about 150 yards away from shore, near the Boca Raton inlet, when a wave struck the vessel, causing Partridge to be thrown into the water.
Smith attempted to navigate the boat back around to where Partridge had entered the water. However, he was unable to pick her up. In his rescue effort, Smith jumped into the water with Lindsey and managed to swim her shore with the help of lifeguards from the nearby Boca Beach Club.
Details remain sparse, though it's reported that Lindsey suffered a grave head injury during the incident. After being transported by ground to Delray Medical Center by Boca Raton Fire Rescue, the head injury proved fatal and Partridge was pronounced deceased. She had spoken on the phone with family members mere minutes before the boating accident took place.
It's believed that precarious weather conditions led to a small boat advisory being in effect when the deadly accident occurred. Generally, such advisories should be heeded by vessels smaller than 30 feet.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission is investigating the incident; no information has been provided as to whether alcohol consumption was involved or if charges will be filed.
Boats are largely perceived as exciting and fun crafts. Yet, few realize how different operating a boat is from operating other vehicles such as a car. Indeed, the physics involved are different, if not completely counter-intuitive.
Due to such misconceptions, unsuspecting individuals may rent a boat and head out on the water without any concern for the hazards that lie ahead. However, it is the duty of boat rental companies to ensure that their patrons are able to efficiently navigate the vessels that they are handing over. Additionally, such businesses should be able to warn or even prevent boat renters from putting themselves in harm's way. When boat rental companies fail to uphold their duty to safety, they can be held responsible for their negligence.
The law surrounding boat accidents is complex, and it can be difficult to determine who is at fault for an accident. Most importantly, it's true that it is not always the operator of a vessel who is solely responsible for damages, injuries, or unnecessary deaths that take place. Boat rental companies have a responsibility to ensure that their boats are safe for operation. For instance, if they fail to properly maintain their boats or do not follow safety regulations, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur.
A boat accident attorney will have the experience and knowledge necessary to investigate boating accidents and determine who is liable for injuries. If the operator of another vessel or the boat rental company itself was responsible, a boat accident lawyer can undertake the steps necessary to hold them liable.
Our experienced boat accident attorneys have represented clients injured in boating accidents caused by negligence in the past. We understand the unique challenges that can arise in these cases, and we are dedicated to fighting for the maximum compensation our clients deserve. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a watercraft accident, we can review your case and determine the proper course of action to help you find closure following such a tragedy.