When two YouTube stars wanted to pull off a stunt, they didn’t expect it to lead to a near-death experience and a $10 million lawsuit. But that’s where David Dobrik, 25, and Jeff Wittek, 32, have found themselves.
What happened, and who is at fault?
The Stunt That Almost Killed Jeff FM
Jeff Wittek, also known as Jeff FM, was a regular member of the “Vlog Squad,” a group of YouTubers that included David Dobrik.
In June 2020, Wittek and Dobrik, along with a few other members of their group, were making videos for their YouTube channels. Dobrik had an idea to put an excavator in the shallow water of a Utah lake and tie a rope to the end of the excavator bucket. People would hold onto the rope and swing around as the excavator spun.
Dobrik was operating the excavator when Wittek went for a ride. Wittek says Dobrik was spinning the excavator too fast and came to an abrupt stop. At that time, Wittek slammed into the side of the excavator and fell into the water.
The impact almost killed Wittek. According to BuzzFeed News, Wittek suffered nine skull fractures, a broken hip and foot, a torn ligament in his leg, and severe damage to his eye.
Now two years after the incident, Wittek filed a lawsuit against Dobrik. He is suing for personal injury.
Related: 6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury
What Are the Details of the Personal Injury Lawsuit?
As a result of the accident, Wittek had a lengthy hospital stay. He was dangerously close to losing his eye, required multiple surgeries, and will have life-long brain injuries.
In an episode of his podcast and YouTube show, Wittek said, “I nearly died. I came an inch from death and an inch from going blind.”
Wittek is seeking $10 million in damages to cover his hospital bills and the cost of lost wages and earning capacity.
According to Dobrik, he feels bad about the incident. He said on his “Views” video podcast, “That day is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I would f—ing do anything to take that day back. I wish it was me up there. It’s the most unfortunate thing ever. And it’s s–tty — it’s an accident. That’s what it was. It’s an accident.”
Dobrik seems to feel bad about the accident, but now he may also be financially liable for the accident if Wittek wins his personal injury lawsuit.
Related: How to Prepare for a Personal Injury Deposition
How to Win a Personal Injury Lawsuit
For Wittek to successfully win his personal injury lawsuit, he will need to prove fault and damages. The excavator incident happened in Utah, but it isn’t clear where the personal injury lawsuit has been filed.
To prove fault in personal injury in Florida, a plaintiff needs to prove two things:
- The defendant’s negligence or maliciousness caused an injury.
- The injured party was damaged physically, emotionally, or financially because of the injury.
Wittek’s legal team will need to prove that Dobrik was aware that the situation was dangerous and proceeded anyway. They will also need to show that the injuries Wittek sustained from the accident led to financial damages and burdens.
Damages in this type of personal injury case may include:
- Damages to cover costs associated with the accident such as medical bills
- Damages to make up for loss of income and future earnings
- Damages to compensate for “pain and suffering”
Wittek will need to show how the accident led to specific monetary losses as well as non-monetary damages. Non-monetary, paid-and-suffering damages may include compensation for debilitating long-term physical impairments, emotional trauma, physical disfigurement, and/or damage to lifestyle.
At this time, Wittek is seeking $10 million in damages. Dobrik will need to decide whether to settle the case out of court or take it to trial to fight the lawsuit.
Related: Personal Injury Compensation: What Can You Fight For?
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to damages.
Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about the details of your accident to see if you are legally entitled to compensation to cover the costs of your medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other types of damages.
To talk to an attorney who will fight to get what is owed to you, schedule a free consultation with personal injury attorney, TJ Grimaldi today. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 to share the details of your case and create a plan to get what’s owed to you.
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