Girardi | Keese

America's Cup training in California results in wrongful death?

Many California residents enjoy recreational activities like boating and racing on the open water. Few people expect these events to become deadly, but a recent practice run of a sailboat preparing for the America's Cup led to the death of a 36-year-old sailor. The potential wrongful death occurred after the Artemis Racing sailboat capsized and the man was pinned beneath the boat's wreckage. Reports indicate that the America's Cup leader plans to allow the preeminent race of the sailing world to go on as scheduled.

The 72-foot catamaran was training in the San Francisco Bay in California when it ran into trouble. At the time of the fatal accident, the boat had just begun a change in direction in an attempt to head downwind. For some reason, the challenging though routine maneuver resulted in the catamaran capsizing; ultimately leading to the boat breaking apart as it nose-dived and flipped upside down.

Officials are investigating the reasons that may have caused or contributed to this crash. It is not yet clear whether there may have been some structural issue with the catamaran itself, or if the only reason that the boat broke apart was due to the actual capsize itself. Regardless, the family of this 36-year-old sailor are now left behind seeking answers for why he died, and potentially facing financial strain related to his death.

While it is not yet clear whether the family could file a wrongful death lawsuit related to this boating accident, that does sometimes prove to be the case in fatal incidents like this one. California law provides surviving family members the chance to argue in court that the negligence of another person or group caused or contributed to their loved one's death. This can help them recover financial damages such as medical or funeral expenses and even lost future income.

Source:, "America's Cup boat nosedived, broke into pieces," Paul Elias, May 10, 2013

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