Swimmers and water skiers are injured each year by boat propellers. Our Florida boat accident attorneys are often asked if the boat or engine manufactures are liable for these injuries. The law finds a manufacture of a product liable for an injured caused by that product when the design is defective and/or if there existed an alternative safer design. All too often manufactures make a business decision to not place a safer product into the market because of cost. Instead they take the approach that it is cheaper to pay the odd personal injury claim than to spend the money to produce a safer product. There is a recent trend among court cases finding manufactures for not equipment their engines with propeller guards.
Jacob Brochtrup was severally injured when he was run over by a ski boat. Brochrup brought a personal injury lawsuit against the boat and the engine manufacturer alleging the boat’s ungraded propeller constituted a design defect. The jury awarded Brochrup $3.8 million dollars. The engine manufacture appealed arguing Brochtrup failed to present evidence that the engine was defectively designed and that there was an existing alternative safer design. The federal appellate court found there was significant evidence presented for a jury to conclude the engine manufacture was negligent for failing to equip the engine with a propeller guard.
In conclusion, boat and engine manufactures may be held liable for an injury caused by an unguarded propeller. If you were injured by a boat’s propeller and have questions about a potential claim, feel free to contact our Florida boat injury lawyers.