I was reading recently about a case involving a very unfortunate occurrence. Specifically, a worker on a commercial boat drowned while out to sea. Although no one saw him fall overboard, the theory of liability was the following: the boat was not seaworthy since it had safety chains- not a fixed guardrail- on its sides and there was a break in the bulwarks; and the ship and its owners had no consistent policy regarding the mandatory usage of personal flotation devices while on deck nor did they require workers to work in tandem with others.
This case eventually proceeded to trial where a jury awarded over $7 million for the estate of this 39-year old wage earner who left a wife and 3 minor children.
I am always struck how tort cases are only limited by the imagination of the attorney who is pursuing the claim on behalf of the injured person. In this case, the attorneys advanced a legal theory which could be factually supported and obviously resonated with the jury.
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