Family of 4-year-old boy nearly killed in Lake Lanier settles for $16 million

The family of a boy who was seriously hurt on Lake Lanier has reached a $16 million settlement with Margaritaville at Lanier Island. 

He was 4-years-old at the time of the 2020 near-fatal drowning. He’s now 7-years-old and must remain on a feeding tube to eat. He also cannot talk. 

The family’s lawsuit claimed that it took 10 minutes for lifeguards to reach him at Paradise Beach and there weren’t proper safety protocols in place - even after previous drownings.

"He suffered a hypoxic brain injury," said Alan Holcomb, an attorney for the family. "His parents were told that he would never walk again, talk again, eat on his own again."

The family didn’t want the boy’s name or picture out there.

As part of the settlement, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands agreed to fork up the $16 million and to do a safety assessment.

At the start of the summer, the park’s beachfront access was roped off

When FOX 5 asked park management if the closure was a consequence of the suit, Vice President Bucky Perry responded with a one-sentence statement: 

"Margaritaville at Lanier Islands places the overall safety of our guests as our highest priority."

Holcomb said the family wants to see big safety improvements.

"You’d have to ask Margaritaville why exactly they shut the beach down," he said. "What we asked them to do is to do a safety assessment to get an aquatic safety expert in to give them recommendations on what they need to do."

As for the boy’s family, they just pray his recovery continues.

"The money helps, the money is certainly going to help the family get the medical care for the child, but money is never going to bring him back to the natural state he was in," Holcomb said.

Away from the water park, three people were killed on Lake Lanier this past weekend alone.