In 2017, Henry received his acceptance letter for one of the best colleges in California. He was going to study at one of the best universities in the state - and years of hard work finally paid off.
His father Alan wanted to do something special for them to celebrate the occasion. As a single parent, he had a special bond with his son that meant it had always been the two of them together since Henry was three. It was time to go on a fishing trip: It was one of those things that both of them had always wanted to do but that neither of them had ever gotten around to doing.
Alan immediately went online and found one of the leading fishing charter boats in the state. He booked them a spot for the next weekend and was convinced that his son was going to love the opportunity to clear his head and go on a one-of-a-kind fishing trip before officially going to college.
Alan was right. Henry loved the idea - and this was a great opportunity for them to spend some last quality time together as father and son. And they finally had a practical use for fishing gear that they had long since forgotten in storage.
On the day of the fishing trip, both of them had a nervous feeling that they just couldn’t seem to get rid of. They were convinced nothing was going to spoil their day of fishing - and the skies were clear with no bad weather predicted. There was no excuse not to go on the boat trip.
While on the water, Henry was even sure that he had hooked a huge catch. He could feel something massive tugging at the end of the fishing rod. Then, disaster struck: The restraints holding Henry fastened to the chair came loose, knocking him forward and overboard.
Henry’s dad called for the boat to stop immediately, but the driver didn’t hear him. By the time the driver brought the boat to a standstill, Alan could see the blood rising up to the surface of the water.
What was meant to be a father-and-son fishing trip for Alan turned into a nightmare experience that describes every parents’ worst fear. Henry didn’t make it out of the water alive, having hit the propellers of the boat on the way through.
The fishing charter company immediately refused to take any responsibility for the accident and said that Alan had no further claim against the company. There would be no compensation, and they said that Alan was welcome to sue them if he had the money.
They issued him with a letter of apology that could never repair the damage that the accident had caused - and they added further insult to injury by offering Alan a "free trip" that he never intended to go near.
The consequences of the accident meant that Alan not only lost his son, but also lost his own financial independence as a result of the events that happened immediately after.
Alan realized that he had no available funds to cover even the basic costs of a funeral service - and as the next-of-kin, he realized that he was the first option for custody of Henry’s 3-year-old son.
As a direct result of negligence that the boating company refused to take any responsibility for, Alan had to sell off the bulk of his assets and exhaust his savings in order to make caring for Henry’s son a possibility.
The fishing company was still allowed to operate - and with the same driver that had caused the accident that took Henry’s life.
Speak with a wrongful death law firm if the above scenario sounds familiar.