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9-Year-Old Massachusetts Girl is Seriously Injured in Boating Accident on Indian Lake

9-year-old Yaritza Diaz is not very responsive and is in critical condition at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston after being seriously injured in a boating accident involving two Sea-Doo watercrafts last May.

Carlos Lopez, 21, and Jose M. Cruz Delgado, 30, have both been charged with negligent driving of a watercraft, failing to follow inland navigation rules, failing to file a written boat accident report, and driving a personal watercraft in excess of headway speed.

Investigators say that Yaritza was riding on the back of the family’s Sea-doo, which had been driven by Lopez. Another Sea-doo, driven by Delgado, was driving on the same course but coming from the opposite direction. The two watercrafts collided. Yaritza was thrown at least 15 feet into the air and was struck by part of one of the vessels. She sustained serious head injuries in the crash.

An investigator on the case says that the vessels were moving at 31 mph, which is way over the 6mph speed limit.

Charges have been filed against the drivers of both vessels-one of them is a family friend of the Diaz family.

Antonia Diaz, the mother of Yaritza, believes that more severe charges should be made against the men. She thinks that misdemeanor charges are not enough to hold the men responsible for what happened to her daughter, who is unable to stand or sit on her own. Yaritza uses a feeding tube and has not been responsive to treatment.

Felony charges, however, can only be made if the two men had been drinking while driving a watercraft and if someone had been killed during the accident.

Yaritza will soon be transferred back to U Mass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. Her mother says that a full-time nurse will be needed to take care of her daughter.

The CDC offers a number of 2005 boating accident statistics on its Web site, including the following:

*In 2005, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports for 4,969 boating incidents; 3,451 participants were reported injured and 697 died in boating incidents.

*Open motorboats were involved in 45% of all reported incidents and personal watercraft were involved in another 26%.

*The number of reported nonfatal injuries (1,007) involving personal watercraft (PWC), such as Jet Skis® and WaveRunners®, increased for the first time since 1996. PWC-related fatalities (65) also increased in 2005.

Watercraft drivers face charges in accident, Telegram.com, July 23, 2007
Boating Safety, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Related Web Resources:

Sea-Doo

Your Resource Center for Boating Safety, USCGboating.org
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a boating accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Award damages from a personal injury lawsuit may include medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and ongoing recovery costs.

Altman & Altman LLP represents personal injury victims throughout the Massachusetts area who have been hurt because someone else acted negligently. Over the years, our personal injury lawyers have helped many injury victims recover compensation for their pain, suffering, and loss.

To request a free case evaluation, contact Altman & Altman LLP, toll-free, at 1-800-481-6199 or at 1-617-492-3000.