When someone rides as a passenger in a vehicle operated by a friend, there is an implied level of trust that the driver will do what is reasonably necessary to make sure that friend gets home safely. Nevertheless, fatal accidents can still occur. Many families choose not to file wrongful death claims against a friend in this situation. However, when it appears that the driver may have willfully neglected to seek aid for a dying friend, taking legal action may become an appropriate legal option for a family seeking accountability for the tragedy.
This may be the case in a Wisconsin boating accident that left one man dead. The boat hit some rocks, and at least two other boaters attempted to assist the occupants of the crashed boat. Both boaters claim that the man on the damaged boat told them not to call authorities and assured them that his friend was not injured but only sleeping.
When authorities arrived, the passenger did not have a pulse and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Police reported that they found empty beer cans and several unopened beer cans on the boat. The boat driver attributed the accident to his newly installed navigation equipment on the boat. Police say that the boat operator had a blood alcohol level of .114, which is more than Wisconsin’s legal limit. He has been charged with several crimes in connection with the fatal crash.
It is possible that the passenger was asleep prior to the accident. Once the boat crashed, an assessment of the passenger’s physical condition may have given emergency personnel the opportunity to save the man’s life. As it is, the deceased passenger’s family may never know. However, they may choose to exercise their right to file a wrongful death claim against the boat’s driver, not only for the possibility of financial restitution, but also in order to achieve some sense of justice on behalf of their loved one.
Source: startribune.com, Charges: Coverup by drunken Twin Cities boater after fatal crash, Paul Walsh, Nov. 1, 2013