Published on:

Product Liability Suit in Boating Death Results in $10.2 million Verdict for Widow

Five years ago everything changed for the wife and children of 45-year-old Chris Jones. After motoring his yacht to a Lake Lanier marina in Atlanta, Georgia for engine repairs, Jones made the fatal decision to spend the night on his boat and run the air conditioner using the generator – a practice his family had safely engaged in many times before. This time, however, and a mere few hours later, the husband, father of three and owner of a successful catering business would perish of carbon monoxide poison.

According to the Daily Report , an eight-day products liability claim filed by Jones’ widow in DeKalb County, Georgia against the boat manufacturer has finally culminated in a $10.2 million verdict for the surviving members of his immediate family.

Plaintiff’s product liability lawyer successfully convinced the jury that faulty boat design lay at the crux of the case, and that Defendant Genmar Yacht Group failed to warn consumers of the associated risk that carbon monoxide could back up into the closed cabin, resulting in the asphyxiation of anyone who had taken shelter there. Some of his biggest supporting arguments were that the boat design failed to comply with carbon monoxide standards as established by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), and that the boat’s alarm system failed to alert the decedent to any danger.

While plaintiff’s counsel requested a total of $36 million at the trial’s conclusion, the final award amount remains extremely significant, especially since product liability cases are notoriously difficult to maintain, rarely settle and nearly always result in litigation. The real difficulty arises when an efficacious manufacturer or retailer has the foresight to purposefully set aside funds specifically devoted to their defense should a claim be filed against them.

Access to money also means that the defendant is able to retain a large legal staff and major insurance company to defend their interests. For the average plaintiff, this causes the defendant company to loom overhead like an insurmountable behemoth. Without an attorney, victims may find themselves succumbing to the pressure to accept far less than their case is actually worth in hopes of ending what is undoubtedly a painful ordeal. While no amount of money can adequately compensate a plaintiff for the weighty emotional toll triggered by a debilitating injury or the loss of a loved one, it can help relieve the economic pressures often accompany a product’s liability accident.

Consequently, the success of such a case often hinges upon the expertise of retained counsel, and the use of experts in engineering or other specialized areas who are qualified to testify about the defects in the design or construction of the product. Trial proceedings generally require the devotion of a significant amount of time, resources and energy for personal injury attorneys and their clients.

Many products are safely designed and pose no special risk to the normal consumer. However, problems with dangerous products were, and continue to be prevalent enough to inspire the creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). On its Website, consumers may report potentially hazardous products or discover which products face recall. If you come into contact with a dangerous product and suffer serious injury, however, you shouldn’t stop there. Experienced design defect attorneys who share an indelible passion for their work are willing to advocate on your behalf.