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Lack of warning signs lead to fatal boat accident

When the weather is just right, many people enjoy taking their boat onto public waters for a relaxing afternoon. Because they are overseen by the city, these waters should be safe, and if a risk is present, there should be a clear warning of potential dangers. Unfortunately, the area near a Pennsylvania dam was not marked. A boat sailing in the area was drawn in by currents which resulted in the wrongful death of two men and injuries to another.

In the end, the case was settled and the federal government paid $425,000 to the families of those in the wrongful death suit and to the person who was injured, recognizing that the failure to display a sign warning of the currents violated the Army Corps of Engineers' sign rules. But while the money from the settlement was helpful, the primary goal of the suit was to bring attention to the potential dangers present in public waters.

But despite efforts to draw attention to this fatal boating accident, it is certainly not the only case where negligence leads to an injury or a wrongful death at a time and place where safety is a reasonable expectation. There are times when lifeguards on duty fail to pay attention at beaches, when dangers at road construction sites are not labeled, and various other scenarios.

Regardless of what the circumstances are when someone dies in any type of accident, it is important to look at the situation with care and determine if there might be cause for a wrongful death suit. While nothing can bring back a loved one, revealing the full story of what happened and receiving restitution helps many achieve at least a partial sense of closure, and deal with many of the expenses that accumulate along the way.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Feds to pay to settle fatal boating accident," Nov. 21, 2012

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