MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Miami-based admiralty and maritime law firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., obtained an $828,524 verdict in favor of a Jet Ski accident victim, who suffered extensive injuries after being allowed to operate a personal water craft (PWC) without prior experience or instruction.
The firm’s maritime lawyers, Jason Margulies and Michael Winkleman, represent plaintiff Karen Kohnke, who was seriously injured in a Jet Ski accident on March 1, 2012 while operating a PWC that was owned by Tamer and Farideh Gozleveli. The court found that the PWC owners’ son, Aydin Gozleveli, negligently entrusted the plaintiff with the craft, despite Kohnke informing him that she had no prior experience operating or even riding such a vessel.
On the day of the accident, Kohnke, Gozleveli, and Gozleveli’s friend, Ryan de la Nuez, went Jet Skiing along the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Kohnke was a passenger aboard the PWC de la Nuez was operating. After a few hours, de la Nuez offered Kohnke the opportunity to operate the PWC, which she accepted, despite Gozleveli having previously informed de la Nuez that she was not to be allowed control of the craft.
Initially, Gozleveli was unaware that Kohnke was operating the Jet Ski. However, he testified that he later saw Kohnke operating the PWC, and neither told her to immediately cease operation, nor instructed de la Nuez to resume control.
Prior to getting in the water, Gozleveli gave de la Nuez a brief tutorial on how to operate the Jet Skis – a significant factor which favored the plaintiff. Though both Gozleveli and de la Nuez are experienced PWC operators, Gozleveli informed his friend they would be riding brand new PWC models - with which de la Nuez did not have previous experience.
Despite having given de la Nuez a tutorial, neither men provided Kohnke with any instruction. In addition, these particular Jet Ski models came equipped with a “learning key”, which restricts the speed at which someone can operate the craft. Yet, neither of the men employed this important safety feature on the PWC Kohnke was operating.
As a result, Kohnke lost control of the PWC and crashed, suffering extensive injuries that required numerous surgeries and which continue to cause her severe pain and discomfort.
Ultimately, because Defendant Gozleveli testified he was aware of the risks in operating the PWCs, yet did not offer the plaintiff specific instructions on the operation, nor attempted to stop her from controlling the craft, the court found Gozleveli liable for the victim’s injuries and awarded Kohnke $828,524 on June 25, 2015.
About Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.
Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is a Miami, Florida-based admiralty and maritime law firm. Founded by Charles R. Lipcon in 1971, the firm represents passengers and crew members who have suffered accidents and crimes aboard cruise ships, cargo vessels, pleasure crafts, and other vessels worldwide.