Man Awarded $1.68 Mil After Scuba Instructors Leave Him At Sea

The scuba diving industry’s safety standards-or lack of them-for verifying that all divers have returned to a boat were partially to blame for one man’s harrowing experience at sea in 2004. An aerospace engineer from Santa Monica, 45-year-old Daniel Carlock set out on a diving expedition, only to find himself stranded 12 miles offshore from Long Beach after the dive master mistakenly documented his presence prior to the vessel’s departure for the next location. For the next five years, Carlock would not only pursue remedies but also to change the laws guiding the industry’s safety protocols.
On that April morning, Carlock boarded the boat, the Sundiver, with 19 other divers for a day trip that would take them first to the oil rig, Eureka, and then to another location seven miles away. After entering the water with three diving companions at about 8:45 a.m., he became separated from them and the group when he encountered difficulty equalizing the pressure in his ears. He found himself 400 feet down current from where the boat was anchored. Upon attempting to swim back, his legs cramped; he blew his whistle to attract the their attention, but no one heard him.
Somehow the dive master confirmed Carlock’s presence on his dive roster, and the party moved onto the next location. The dive master then marked him present for the second dive. Three hours passed before the crew noticed he was absent, at which point they notified the Coast Guard and a search commenced, explains a California injury lawyer.
Meanwhile, strong currents carried Carlock through frigid waters and dense fog toward Newport Beach. As the hours passed, When To Get An Attorney For A Car Accident he documented the time on his waterproof writing slate and photographed himself-and prayed to God to save him.
After Carlock had been out at sea for five hours, 15-year-old Zack Mayberry spotted him through his binoculars from the ship full of Boy Scouts on which he was traveling. As the Coast Guard, the dive instructors, Long Beach lifeguards, and members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department searched for Carlock, the Boy Scouts performed the rescue procedures they had just practiced the day before.
Following a 23-day trial and days of deliberations, Carlock was awarded $1.68 million, some of which accounted for the skin cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from the hours of sun exposure and stress he experienced. Moreover, the safety protocols for counting divers were changed: now their presence must be visually verified, and the captain must also confirm the count.
While lawyers for the diving instruction companies, Ocean Adventures Dive Co. and Sundiver Charters, argued that Carlock had assumed certain risks by participating Withdrawal Of Lawyer Alberta in the dive and consequently waived his right to hold the owners liable, the judge ruled that becoming stranded in the ocean was not a risk inherent to diving.

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