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Mississippi family settles lawsuit with yacht club, power company

The family of a Mississippi man who lost both of his legs and one of his arms in a tragic accident has settled a lawsuit they filed against the Gulfport Yacht Racing Association and Mississippi Power. Details of the settlement weren't made public.

The incident occurred just over two years ago when the then-20-year-old man was parking a sailboat at the Gulfport Yacht Club. His hand was touching the boat trailer when a cable on the boat came into contact with a power line, causing him to catch fire.

The young man, who had hoped to captain his own boat one day, suffered third- and fourth-degree burns over most of his body. He was hospitalized for over six months and then transferred to a burn center in Atlanta. He nearly died on several occasions from numerous infections and other complications.

In their lawsuit, the young man's parents claimed that the yacht club was negligent for allowing sailboats to be parked and rigged under a power line. The suit also accused Mississippi Power of negligence for installing the line where it did as well as trespassing. According to court records, there's no written easement in place that allows them to install lines on the property.

The family's attorney says that with the settlement, the young man can get the prosthetics he needs. Because he lost nearly all of both legs, he can't use traditional prostheses. He will then be able to begin the long process of "basically learning to walk again," according to the attorney.

The family raised over $165,000 in a GoFundMe campaign, in large part thanks to others in the sailing community. However, that wasn't nearly enough to cover his medical bills.

Despite everything he's been through and his continuing challenges (including dealing with burns over 85 percent of his body), his lawyer says that the young man has maintained a positive attitude. He says, "Not one time has he ever complained to me."

As is the case here, premises liability lawsuits may involve the negligence of more than one party. Experienced Mississippi premises liability attorneys can work to determine who can and should be held liable for a victim's injuries or death.

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