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Leg of Palm Beach Gardens Teen Reportedly Amputated After Accident With Boat Propeller

As a Pompano Beach boating accident attorney, I was sorry to read about an accident that left a teenager in critical condition. As the Palm Beach Post reported Feb. 8, 14-year-old Gabby Desouza was scheduled to have her leg amputated that day after it was caught in a boat’s propeller. Desouza was hurt after she and several friends ran into the surf in Juno Beach to meet a boat. The boat’s operator apparently advanced too close to the teens and hit three of them. Desouza had the only reported serious injuries and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where she was initially reported in critical but stable condition. The Palm Beach County sheriff’s department is investigating.

According to an earlier article, Desouza and her friends were in shallow water on the afternoon of Feb. 5 when a boat approached, apparently with friends of the teens on board. Lifeguards repeatedly asked the boater to leave the swimming area, but with no effect. As the girls tried to get into the boat, a wave washed it closer to the shore. A bigger wave approached, and to keep from being grounded, the boater apparently revved the engine. Unfortunately, that pushed the boat forward into the girls, knocking them down and catching Desouza in the propeller. Her friends rushed her to shore to get medical help from lifeguards and the boat sped away. Authorities later found the boat at the Crab House in Jupiter, impounded it and detained two people believed to have been on board for questioning.

It’s not clear whether the boater in this case has broken any laws; the sheriff’s office will make that determination. But as a Miramar boating accident lawyer, I think it’s likely that the boat operator was negligent, regardless of whether he or she broke the law. Negligence is a concept in civil – not criminal – law, meaning failure in the duty to take reasonable care that we all owe one another. Not heeding the lifeguards’ repeated requests to get out of the swimming area was probably negligent. If the boat operator broke boating rules by being in the swimming area, which seems likely, that would also be negligent. Victims of negligence can recover damages when the negligence leads to serious injuries, as in this situation, but they have to sue rather than rely on prosecutors.

Cohn, Smith & Cohn represents victims of all types of negligence, including negligence that leads to serious boating accidents. Unfortunately, misbehavior on the water may be even more common than misbehavior on the roads. Some people feel safer – or less likely to get caught – on the water, and the recreational atmosphere of boating encourages some people to ignore safety. Our Fort Lauderdale boating accident attorneys help people who are seriously injured or lose a loved one in boating accidents caused by someone else’s carelessness. In a lawsuit, injured families can win all the money they need for medical care, including future care; lost income; and compensation for pain, suffering and any permanent disability.

If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in a boat accident in Florida, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To set up a free evaluation of your case, call us today at (954) 431-8100 or send us a message online.

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