A scuba diver who was left at a dive site while on a scuba diving excursion was awarded $1.68M in a negligence lawsuit after a jury found Ocean Adventures Dive Co. and Sundiver Charters at fault in abandoning Daniel Carlock 12 miles off of the shore during a chartered dive.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Carlock was with 20 other scuba drivers who were diving off the Long Beach, California coast. Carlock had to surface because of a problem with his ears but was unable to make it back to the vessel. Although he blew on his safety whistle and waved at the boat, no one noticed he was absent from the dive party. When the dive party left the dive site, Carlock was marked present on the roster by the dive master. When the group did a second dive at another location, Carlock was again marked as present by the dive master.
Carlock reportedly drifted for five hours before a tall ship carrying Boy Scouts rescued him. Carlock suffered post traumatic stress syndrome after the ordeal and also developed skin cancer he attributes to exposure to the intense sun.
The jury found that the dive company was negligent and awarded Carlock $2M which included a pain and suffering award. However, the amount was reduced to $1.68 because of a finding that Carlock was partially responsible for the accident because he did not surface closer to the vessel.
The dive industry has changed their standards after Carlock’s incident, requiring visual verification and redundancy in counting divers.
In a general negligence lawsuit, an injured person may seek compensation for injuries if a reasonable person had negligent behavior which resulted in the injury. In Carlock’s case, it certainly was negligence by the dive master to mark him present without confirmation and it was reasonable for Carlock to assume that being abandoned at the dive site was not a reasonable risk inherent in diving.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have suffered injuries due the negligence of another. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.
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