Each day across the United States, about ten people accidentally drown, and on average, two of those ten people are children. According to the Orange County Register, in Orange County alone, someone drowns every nine days. Drowning deaths tragically impact thousands of families each year, and some of those drownings are what the law calls wrongful deaths. In the state of California, when someone’s recklessness or negligence causes another person to die by drowning, the victim’s surviving family members may seek compensation for their loss with a wrongful death claim.
Most children who are drowning victims, and 85 percent of all drowning victims under age five, drown in residential pools. The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests homeowners with pools should buy fences and locks. A shady, open swimming pool may be irresistible to a curious child, so the consistent use of locks and fences is the best way to prevent kids from drowning in a pool. A fence around a pool not only protects your own children and the children in your neighborhood; fences around residential swimming pools and locks on those pools also provide homeowners with some protection from personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Most drownings are preventable. We place our trust in those who operate swimming pools at schools, rec centers, and summer camps, and we trust lifeguards at pools and beaches to be alert. We trust that homeowners with private pools, schools, and city recreation departments will be responsible to maintain and operate their swimming pools safely. If the careless or reckless behavior of a lifeguard contributed to a drowning death, or if a lack of proper maintenance at a swimming pool causes someone to drown, a pool’s owner(s) and/or operators(s) may be found liable for wrongful death if a drowning occurs.
WHAT ABOUT INJURIES AND DEATHS LINKED TO BOATS AND JET SKIS?
Aside from swimming pools, a number of drownings and catastrophic injuries in California involve boats, jet skis, water skis, and sometimes even surfboards. If a swimmer, a surfer, or a skier is accidentally killed by a boat or a jet ski, the boat or jet ski operator may be liable for causing the wrongful death. If a boat operator causes a wrongful death while intoxicated, a wrongful death claim will probably prevail, and criminal charges such as boating under the influence may also come into play.
You must protect yourself and your family while enjoying the water. When boating, skiing, or jet skiing, wear an appropriate life jacket and make sure everyone with you does too. If you own a boat, make certain that it is properly and regularly maintained, make sure that you carry adequate flares, lights, and life jackets, and consider taking a boating safety course. Boating safety courses are available – and inexpensive – virtually everywhere in our state.
HOW CAN DROWNING TRAGEDIES BE PREVENTED?
Of course, surviving family members need to grieve and heal after a loved one’s sudden wrongful death, but family members also need prompt and accurate legal advice. No sum of cash can ease the pain of losing a beloved family member, but a wrongful death claim can help the survivors avoid hardship and meet their immediate financial responsibilities. A wrongful death lawsuit also acts to hold accountable the party or parties whose carelessness caused the death.
Listed here are some additional suggestions for avoiding accidents and wrongful deaths in residential swimming pools:
– Supervise children at every moment. Never leave a child near a pool without an adult.
– If you have children of your own, sign them up for swimming lessons.
– Take a CPR class. When someone is drowning, every second counts.
– Have a first-aid kit and CPR directions next to any swimming pool.
A wrongful death is always a tragedy, but wrongful deaths aren’t the only tragedies linked to swimming and swimming pools. About 2,600 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the U.S. each year for near-drowning incidents. Some of these submersion accidents result in catastrophic, traumatic brain injuries that may be permanently disabling.
Some brain injury victims are eventually able to live independently; others may look healthy, but they aren’t. Anyone who sustains a brain injury while swimming, boating, skiing, jet skiing, or surfing should discuss the accident and injury with an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY?
Some severely brain damaged victims have initial hospital stays in excess of 120 days and initial medical expenses that may exceed $150,000. If you or someone you love suffers a traumatic brain injury while swimming in California, let an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney help. A good personal injury lawyer can review the details of your case and work with medical specialists and others to compile evidence of negligence. Long-term medical care for traumatic brain injury patients is quite costly, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can aggressively fight on a brain injury victim’s behalf for the maximum compensation that’s available.
However, the amount of time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a swimming pool accident or any other swimming mishap is restricted in California by the state’s statute of limitations, so if you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury – or any other serious injury because a swimming pool owner or operator or a boat operator was negligent – you must act right away. Over time, evidence for a personal injury claim can deteriorate or disappear – and so can the memories of witnesses – so you must put a reliable personal injury attorney to work on your behalf as soon as possible after any swimming-related injury or death caused by negligence.
Every tragedy is different. When you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you seek justice after a swimming injury or a wrongful death, you’ll want an injury lawyer who offers sound legal advice tailored to your personal circumstances and needs. Without the help of a knowledgeable California personal injury lawyer, almost no one can afford the extensive medical care that a traumatic brain injury victim will require. If you are the surviving family member of a wrongful death victim, a wrongful death settlement or verdict can help you meet the immediate obligations and help you move more positively and constructively into the future.