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Will a friendly relationship end with a wrongful death claim?

As summer officially winds down, many people are out on Louisiana's waterways getting in some last-minute fun before the school year starts. This may have been the case with some people who were recently boating here in the state. What started out as a day on the water suddenly became a tragedy, and the family of an 8-year-old boy may exercise their right to file a wrongful death claim against someone they may have previously called a friend.

The young boy was part of a group of three children on an inflatable tube attached to the back of a boat. Four people were on the boat when the driver turned the boat. The tube slammed into the bank and ejected its occupants. One boy suffered minor injuries, another was taken to the hospital for injuries that were reportedly not life-threatening and the 8-year-old succumbed to fatal injuries.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries report that the driver, who is from Texas, was arrested on suspicion of being impaired as he drove the boat. He was taken to the jail in Calcasieu Parish. He faces several criminal charges, including vehicular homicide since boats are included in that definition.

The evidence presented to the court in the criminal case, and any conviction secured by prosecutors, could provide much needed evidence of negligence in a wrongful death claim against the boat driver. A successfully litigated claim could result in the court considering an award of damages. A monetary judgment cannot replace the child lost, but it may help with the financial burdens placed upon his family in the aftermath of his tragic death.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Texas Boy, 8, Dead in Boating Accident; Texas Man Arrested", Aug. 21, 2017

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