Personal Watercraft / Defective Design / Negligent Dock Design – $5,000,000 Jury Verdict, Case Published: 12/13/2010

This was a tragic case of a two-year-old boy struck by a Bombardier Sea-Doo which went up on the dock and struck the young boy as he was holding his mother’s hand. Attorney Robert Baker brought suit against the manufacturer for a design defect called “off throttle steering” (Off throttle steering when a Personal Water Craft operator (PWC), is faced with a potential collision hazard, attempts to slow and turn the craft by releasing the throttle and turning the handlebars away from the hazard. Because of their jet-pump design, most PWC do not provide steering control under these circumstances. The result is that the craft continues on a straight course directly towards the hazard, regardless of the operator’s steering inputs.)  Also named as defendants, were the dock owner and contractor for negligently constructing the dock. The case was settled for a confidential amount against Bombardier. The case proceeded to jury verdict against the remaining defendants and the jury returned a verdict of $5,000,000.