YOUNG BOY KILLED IN BOATING ACCIDENT IN LAKE HOPATCONG

A 10-year-old from Mount Arlington has been killed after falling off a boat being driven by his dad. Christopher D'Amico, Jr. of Mount Arlington was riding on a 20-foot pontoon boat that his father had rented for a trip with his family. The boat was in the Byram Cove section of Lake Hopatcong when Christopher slipped off and was struck by the boat. While Christopher was evacuated by helicopter to Morristown Medical Center, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. D'Amico's organs were donated to eight other children, including a child dying of cancer and two children who will use his eyes to see. While police reported to the accident scene and the Morris County Prosecutor was notified of the accident, no charges have at this point been filed. 

If you've ever rented any recreational equipment, such as a boat, you probably remember signing paperwork before you were allowed to take the equipment. Generally, this paperwork will include a release of liability, which is intended as an agreement that you will not hold the rental company responsible for any injuries, should you or a family member hurt yourself while using the rented equipment. These releases don't always prevent all forms of litigation against a rental company, however. Some releases are not properly drafted and will be thrown out by courts. Also, rental companies always possess some duty to rent out equipment only to individuals who seem capable of operating it safely. If the rental company ignores obvious warning signs in renting out potentially dangerous equipment, the victims of accidents involving that rental equipment may be able to plead a claim of "negligent entrustment." For example, if a rental company can see that a potential renter is intoxicated, then a rental company should not rent to that person. Additionally, if a renter has rented a piece of equipment that he is not capable of safely operating, then the rental company may be responsible for failing to adequately screen the renters. Some rental companies will even require that a renter have undergone training in using the equipment in question before being allowed to rent it out.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a tragic accident, you may not know where to turn, or how to seek compensation to cover your medical expenses or other costs associated with the incident. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for seeking recovery. For a free consultation on your possible lawsuit, call the Morristown offices of Smith & Doran at 973-292-0016.

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