Monday, February 20, 2012

Powerboat Racer's Widow Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Priscilla Gratton, the widow of one of the powerboat racers who was killed during the Key West Super Boat World Championship last November has filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against the competition producer and two medical directors. In her civil suit, which was filed on Friday in the Broward Circuit Court, Gratton is alleging that her husband died as a result of the gross negligence of John Carbonell, President of Super Boat International Productions, Inc., and race medical directors Donald DiPetrillo and Brian Haff. According to the Miami-Herald, she is demanding damages of more than $15,000 and a jury trial.

 On November 11, 2011, powerboat racer Joey Gratton was the throttle man of the Page Motorsports boat when the 38-foot caverman overturned on the first turn in the final lap during the second race. The Key West Super Boat World Championship is a three-day racing competition and last year’s race will probably remembered as one of the most tragic sports racing competition in the industry.  During the competition, two Missouri racers were also killed two days prior to Gratton’s death.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Gratton’s death as an accident, but the widow alleges that her husband would still be alive but for the producer and medical directors’ negligence. In her lawsuit she argues that her husband was still alive and uninjured after the Florida powerboat accident. She claims that after the wreckage her husband survived for a few minutes on an emergency air tank when he was unable to free himself because of the harness system kept him refrained in his seat.  But, the inexperience of the volunteer divers and the response time it took for them to get from their boat to her husband led to his death because the boat begun to sink and trapped the exit door which made it impossible for her husband to escape. Further, by the time the responders were able to open the door’s access, her husband had run out of air supply.

Moreover, she claims that her husband’s accident came just two days after another fatal boating accident and that the defendants did nothing to correct “the obvious defects and deficiencies in their policies after the first tragedy.” She contends that the producers were using volunteer divers as first rescue responders as a cost saving measure and in which they were not qualified to perform. Also, her attorney says that the defendants’ conduct deviates from industry standard practices and procedures.  Page Motorsports owner and driver, Stephen Page survived the accident.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers reported earlier that the number of powerboating accidents is small in comparison with motor vehicle accidents. But, whenever you have a sporting activity which involves traveling at high rates of speed, there is an increased risk of accidents happening that can cause serious injuries or death. Therefore it becomes critical that industry standards, practices, procedures and protocols be followed thoroughly, and that skilled and trained personnel are employed as first response rescuers. Losing a loved one is traumatic experience and it is further disturbing when your loved one has died as a result of another’s negligence.

For that reason, our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys recognizes that it is during this difficult times families are overwhelmed, suffer from enormous grief and trying to move forward with life seems unbearable. But we are here to assist families in relieving some of their pain by helping them hold the responsible party for causing the death of their loved one accountable for their actions. If you have suffered from a recent experience contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys about your case, because you could have a legal claim to recover damages for your loss.
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