The boat owners and drivers involved in the Ontario, Canada, fatal boat crash involving Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary could potentially face whopping lawsuits up to $1 million, according to marine and legal experts who spoke to The Toronto Sun. The lawsuits could be as high as $1 million per boat, which is the maximum amount a small private vessel can be sued for loss of life or personal injury under Canada's Marine Liability Act.
Marine lawyer Eric Machum told the Sun that the liability of the two or more people who caused the loss is "proportionate to the degree of their respective fault or negligence" and that "if the degrees of fault or neglect can't be determined, their liability is equal."
Machum also said that the act, revised in 2018, does not require smaller pleasure crafts to be insured, but that it's likely that those involved in the Lake Joseph crash did have insurance.
The investigation into the crash that left two people dead is reportedly under a strong bout of forensics complications that could hinder speedy results.
"It comes down to contamination of the evidence," Kevin Kinsella, a former investigator for the Ontario government, told Canadian newspaper The National Post. "Water can affect the body, can affect a lot of things … It could take three weeks just to collect the evidence."
Kinsella said he expects investigators will need at least six weeks to determine what really happened. "Be patient with them," he said.
Though details remain murky, O'Leary was a passenger on a boat reportedly steered by his wife, Linda, when they collided with another larger boat, killing two people on board that larger boat. The two victims were identified as Gary Poltash, 64, who was killed immediately after being struck in the head; and Susanne Brito, a 48-year-old mother of three, was left gravely injured and transported to a hospital, where she was kept on a ventilator until her organs could be donated.
In the days following the collision, reports surfaced that investigators were trying to recreate the crash, and would not rule out alcohol as a factor. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) did not confirm any such details, nor release any findings into their investigation.
Both parties involved have given conflicting stories as to what happened that night. O'Leary made a public statement accusing the larger vessel of fleeing the scene and of not having proper navigation lights. Those aboard the larger vessel claim their lights were on.
"The investigation is just ongoing and they’re not releasing anything until the end of the investigation," Const. Joe Scali told The Toronto Sun. "This is a regular, normal investigation, looking at all the aspects — we have marine technical experts."0comments
No charges have been filed. Linda was reportedly administered a DUI test at the scene and passed.
In the meantime, O'Leary has since resumed filming for the next season of Shark Tank.