What is Accidental Drowning in Personal Injury Law?
Who becomes liable after an accidental drowning? What steps can responsible adults take to prevent drowning accidents from occurring?
Accidental drowning claims the lives of thousands of people every year. These accidents are preventable. With proper safety measures in place, the risk of accidental drowning accidents decreases exponentially. The devastation of thinking that something as enjoyable as a vacation, enjoying beautiful Florida weather, turning tragic in the event of a drowning accident.
What causes accidental drowning deaths?
Sometimes, the negligence of another causes an accidental drowning accident. Instances of accidental drownings include leaving children without supervision, or failing to install a pool alarm. In these cases, the family of the victim must consider the pursuit of a wrongful death lawsuit. When a person drowns, there is no dollar amount worthy of their life. No amount will ever be sufficient to a family who loses someone they love to drowning. However, there are final expenses, and families must recover as much compensation as possible.
Who is liable for drowning accidents?
When the law determines an accidental drowning to be a wrongful death, there is a negligent party responsible. If the accident occurs on private property, the person who owns the home may be liable. It may also be the lack of action leading up to the accidental drowning holding them accountable. If the drowning occurs in a public space, the business may be liable for those who sustain injuries or drown on the property. Personal Injury Law differs depending on how and where the drowning accident occurs.
What duty of care do public pools hold?
Who is responsible for injuries that occur at a public pool? We should be careful to heed signs that warn us not to swim without a lifeguard on duty. No diving signs are a great way to prevent TBI injuries too. However, what happens when there is a lifeguard on duty and a person still becomes the victim of a drowning death? The lifeguard may be liable for not paying attention.
We’ve all seen such things, but some of us may not be aware these actions are harmful. A lifeguard texting instead of watching the children? Eating a snack rather than attending to the needs of swimmers? This negligent behavior may put the lifeguard at risk for severe legal action.
Attention to details
Lifeguards who work at a public pool must uphold specific requirements. This means they have to meet or surpass a lifeguard exam to be able to perform their duties safely.
If a lifeguard is found to lack proper training and a drowning occurs as a result, this places liability on the lifeguard.
Whether it’s due to lack of exam, or doing poorly on the exam, it’s an act of recklessness to perform lifeguard duties without proper training.
This same standard of care applies to pool maintenance. If pool maintenance is not a priority for the business, accidents can occur. Accidents can be anything from slip and fall injuries to accidental drowning. The public pool and the employee who maintain it may be liable for any accidents that occur as a result of failing to uphold a safe swimming environment.
What are other causes of accidental drowning deaths?
Drowning accidents can involve water sports, swimming in deep waters, or falls where injury occurs leading to drowning. When it comes to ocean drownings, jet skis and water skis are one of the leading causes of wrongful death. Due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior on the water, a jet ski can strike a boat, injuring the skier.
Lack of care on the water is an act of either negligence or recklessness. This depends upon the circumstances. When it comes to recklessness, alcohol may be the culprit. In these cases, the boater may be legally responsible for causing the wrongful death of another.
In extreme cases such as operating a boat under the influence, criminal charges may occur outside of civil consequences.
Only a board certified civil trial attorney knows how to apply the laws in these situations. When you lose a loved due to an accidental drowning, it’s imperative that you contact board certified legal counsel right away. The statute of limitations varies by state, but if you exceed it the judge will dismiss your claim–no questions asked.
How is public safety a factor in accidental drownings?
The federal government upholds specific requirements for pool operators. There are certain standards to uphold before anyone can open a public swimming pool.
Under federal law those operating public swimming pools must install drain covers to prevent suction. Old model drain covers are more of a safety risk for children. Small children become stuck in these old model covers, drowning due to the strong suction. New model drains now prevent numerous drain suction drowning accidents. State laws are also beginning to adopt these requirements of public swimming pools to prevent accidental deaths as well.
Unfortunately, while many public pools comply and upgrade their drainage system, some lack the oversight or attempt to avoid the cost of doing so.
If a drowning accident occurs in pool that does not meet the federal requirements, the violation may substantiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
Further preventing accidental drowning
In our next article detailing the prevention of accidental drowning, we’ll explore the precautions that eliminate the risk of this unnecessarily recurring tragedy. We’ll also discuss what home owners can do to prepare a residential swimming pool for children. We’ll even explain what steps homeowner’s take to prevent accidental drownings on private property.