Indian Rocks Beach Man Killed Following Nighttime Personal Watercraft Accident

An Indian Rocks Beach man was killed this weekend following a nighttime personal watercraft crash. 40-year-old Victor Vazquez was thrown into the Intracoastal Waterway near the Belleair Causeway after the boat he was riding in hit an unidentified object in the water Saturday night. The damaged boat was piloted by 34-year-old Robert W. Turnbull of Seminole who was also thrown into the water approximately one mile from shore.

Although both men were apparently wearing life vests, Vazquez was found unconscious in the water immediately following the crash. Turnbull reportedly made unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate Vazquez on the way back to shore and again once they reached land. Emergency crews called to the scene performed CPR, but also failed to revive Vazquez. Turnbull received only minor injuries in the accident. Authorities took blood samples to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

Despite that a full moon lighted the Intracoastal Waterway over the weekend, it is unlawful to pilot a personal watercraft in Florida at night. Vazquez’s death is at least the second nighttime personal watercraft fatality in the area this year. In January, a man was killed and a woman injured when their personal watercrafts collided in the dark around 3 am near Hillsborough County. In that accident, neither party was wearing a life vest.

Florida has more registered boats and more boating related accidents than any other state. Boating accidents of any kind have the potential to result in serious injury and even wrongful death. The most common cause of death related to a boat accident is drowning. Boat accidents are often the result of negligence, impairment, operator error, speeding, inattentiveness, and operating during inclement weather. Fortunately, most recreational boating accidents are completely preventable.

There are two types of damages available to an individual who was injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence in Florida. Economic damages include medical expenses and loss of income and earning capacity. Non-economic damages consist of compensation for suffering, pain, psychological trauma, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Sometimes, punitive damages may be awarded where evidence of gross negligence or disregard for the life and safety of another person exists. A qualified Florida personal injury attorney can help you assess your claim.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a boating accident, contact Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. Our skilled South Florida boating accident lawyers have experience litigating complex injury, accident, and negligence claims. The lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are committed to helping injured clients get the compensation they deserve. To speak with a knowledgeable personal injury advocate about your case, call Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. at (305) 371-6000 today. You may also contact the law firm through our website.

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Former Players Sue NFL in Miami Over Concussion Risks, Miami Injury Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2012
South Florida Cruise Ship Returns to Port Early With Another Suspected Norovirus Outbreak, Miami Injury Lawyer Blog, February 9, 2012
Additional Resources:

Indian Rocks Beach Man Dies in Nighttime Boating Accident, by Linda Hersey, Pinellas Beaches Patch

Authorities identify Indian Rocks Beach man killed in personal watercraft accident, by Drew Harwell and Will Hobson, Tampa Bay Times

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