Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Boat accident trial: Engineer describes how propeller gutted woman

UPDATE: The Plaintiff lost this trial. See this news story.

NAPLES — A biomechanical engineer told a Collier Circuit jury on Monday that he couldn’t understand the boating industry’s reluctance to equip boats with an inexpensive propeller ring guard that would prevent injuries and save lives. Lawrence Thibault, who owns Biomechanics Inc., a Pennsylvania consulting firm that studies injury biomechanics, told jurors how lap seat belts prompted a series of changes that improved safety in the auto industry, leading to harness belts, padded dashboards, air bags, side air bags, curtain air bags, and other changes. “But there’s no movement in the marine industry to put an emphasis on safety,” Thibault testified during questioning by Kevin Liles of Texas, one of five attorneys representing 64-year-old Audrey Decker of East Naples, who lost her left eye, part of a breast, and suffered other serious injuries when she fell overboard in 1999 and was cut by her boat’s propeller.

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