The parents of two-men who perished in a boat crash with Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the athlete's estate. The lawsuit claims Fernandez was at the helm of the boat when it crashed into a jetty during the early morning hours of September 24, 2016.
Both claims seek to recover $2 million each from Fernandez’s estate, currently controlled by the pitcher’s mother. The Miami Dade Medical Examiner’s Office determined Fernandez was legally drunk at the time of the crash and had cocaine in his system.
While the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigating the incident has not issued its final report, many have already speculated the 24-year old phenom was to blame for the catastrophic accident. However, the defendant’s attorney claims to have a witness who spoke with Fernandez moments before the crash, claiming the young man was not behind the wheel of the boat.
Even if Fernandez was not operating the vessel at the time of the accident, he may be held responsible for the accident if the boat was registered in his name and/or had a captain’s license in Florida. As a general matter of civil liability, boat operators and owners must exercise due care to protect their passengers from harm.
Appropriate actions for boat owners should include making sure anyone else operating the vessel be fit to do so, especially as it pertains to boating under the influence. While this type of litigation is complex, an experienced personal injury attorney can help victims and family members get the justice and compensation they need.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, boat accident lawsuits may be heard in either state or federal court. Under U.S. maritime law, accidents within “navigable waters” or 3 miles off the coast are usually litigated in front of a federal District Court judge while those outside this scope are remanded to state courts.
Although The Cochran Firm, D.C. is not representing any of the parties in this particular case, our office has years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families. If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a boat, auto, or truck crash, contact our office to discuss your case.