WCNC.com has reported that a woman who suffered a horrific trauma in a boating accident has just recently filed a lawsuit against the driver of the boat, the owner of the boat, and the manufacturer of the boat. According the suit, the victim, Deondra Scott, of Charlotte, had her right arm completely severed by the boat’s propeller when she jumped off the back of the boat into Lake Norman.
The accident took place in June during the annual Lake Bash, a yearly party where boaters come together to have fun, dance, listen to music and party. The boat that Scott was on was rented and driven by Dennis Allen. Allen rented the boat from David Orzolek. Prior to the day of the accident, Allen had no experience operating a boat. When the police responded to the scene of the accident in June, they determined that alcohol was not involved in the accident even though there was alcohol was present on the boat. The boat was, however, filled beyond capacity and it did not have enough life vests for the number of passengers on the boat.
Deondra Scott, along with some other passengers on the boat, jumped off the back of the boat and went into the water directly behind the boat. The complaint claims that all of the passengers who jumped into the boat were under the impression that the boat had been completely powered off. The plaintiff was swimming back toward the boat when other passengers of the boat realized that the engine was still running. One of the passengers tried to tell Allen to cut the engine, but Allen panicked and put the boat in reverse and hit the plaintiff with the boat’s propeller. Then, because Allen panicked again, he put the throttle in a forward gear and hit the plaintiff again with the propeller. As a result of being struck twice by the boat’s spinning propeller, the plaintiff suffered “1) a laceration to the right arm, which has since been amputated; 2) laceration to the breasts, which have since been amputated; 3) serious lacerations to both legs; 4) a punctured lung; 5) severed sternum.”
Scott’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in January. Scott is requesting damages for her medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, excessive scaring and loss of a limb. Both the driver and the owner of the boat have been named as defendants in the suit, in addition to the manufacturer. The suit alleges that the driver, Allen, and the owner, Orzolek, were negligent. It also charges the manufacturer of the boat, Chaparral, with a defect in design and breach of the duty to warn. The complaint alleges that the manufacturer of the boat promotes swimming directly behind the boat, but failed to warn of the dangers of swimming behind the boat while it is running, i.e., the spinning propeller that can dismember limbs.