A Bayville woman whose leg was amputated after a boating accident is suing Boatbound, the boat-sharing company that facilitated the rental of the vessel that struck her.
In August 2015, Edyta Regnowski rented a Bayliner through Seattle-based Boatbound. Regnowski and a few friends took the boat, owned by William Colwin of Huntington, out into the waters between Cove Neck and Cold Spring Harbor.
Regnowski, now 35, jumped off the boat to retrieve an untied water tube, when her guest operating the boat — not knowing she was in the water — put the craft in reverse to anchor it. The boat’s propeller struck Regnowski, making a deep incision into her right leg. Her leg was later amputated from the hip down after she developed an infection.
Since the accident, Regnowski has accrued $1.3 million in medical bills, which the insurance carriers for Boatbound and Colwin have refused to cover, according to her attorney Edmond Chakmakian.
Regnowski is seeking $1.3 million to cover her medical expenses and $10 million for pain and suffering as well as her future medical expenses, Chakmakian said. The case is scheduled to be heard by an arbitrator in Hauppauge beginning March 13. Colwin and Joseph Balarezo, who Regnowski said was operating the boat at the time of the accident, are also named in the suit. Balarezo, however, will not be party to the arbitration.
Balarezo’s attorney, Chris Purcell of Hauppauge, said his client “feels just terrible about the tragedy.”
“Boatbound has totally walked away from this situation despite the fact that everyone had the understanding that a liability policy was in place that would cover someone in just this circumstance,” Purcell said.
“We certainly feel terrible for Edyta,” said Tom Grasso, a Manhattan-based attorney representing both Boatbound and Colwin in arbitration. “It was a very tragic situation and extremely unfortunate.”
Representatives for Boatbound said in a statement on its website that the company’s insurance provider, Great Lakes Reinsurance, declined coverage for Regnowski because she “turned over command of the vessel to someone else.” But Chakmakian said Regnowski had been “fraudulently induced” to enter into the contract, believing that she and others on the boat would be “fully insured.”
Regnowski, who worked as a dental hygienist in Manhattan, said she’s undergone more than 20 operations and now wears a prosthetic leg. She’s been unable to work since the accident and says her injuries will likely prohibit her from working full-time again.
“The only reason I went with this company is because it said on their website that we would be fully insured, and now they’re turning their back on me,” Regnowski said.