A Kansas City, Mo., jury has awarded $16 million in compensatory damages to a teen who was left a quadriplegic after diving off a pier where warning signs were not properly displayed. However, the jury did say the diver was partially at fault.
?Owners need to evaluate their facilities and make sure warning signs and lifeguards are being properly handled according to the standards in the industry,? said John R. Fletemeyer, Ed.D., expert witness to the plaintiff?s attorney.
The jury said that Quivira Inc., which manages the Lake Quivira residential community, was 75 percent at fault for the accident that took place on Aug. 3, 2005, and had to pay the plaintiff, 18-year-old Brad-ley Hudspeth, $15 million, according to news reports.
While there was a posted warning that read ?No diving from marked areas,? the jury concluded that the sign was inadequate because it was on the beach, approximately 150 feet from the pier. Furthermore, the pier itself did not have any signs indicating shallow water or restricted diving.
?Fortunately, we had insurance coverage,? said John Miller, the country club?s general manager. ?But one thing I learned is that you can never have too much signage.?
The jury also determined there was negligence on the part of the pool management company. Finding Missouri Valley Pool Management Inc. 5 percent at fault ($1 million), jurors asserted that the lifeguards were not well-trained to handle the rescue and should?ve have informed the country club about the hazard years ago, Fletemeyer said. Finally, the jury found Hudspeth 20 percent at fault.