Child Drowning Accident Lawyers
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Parents of young children understand how quickly curious or mischievous little ones can run from your sight and get into trouble. It can be stressful, especially when you are on vacation or in an unfamiliar area, to ensure the safety of your child. When a terrible accident happens to them, it may seem your family could never recover.
Most of us at Zinda Law Group have children of our own, so we can empathize if not fully understand what you must be going through if your child drowned or nearly drowned recently. You might wonder, “Do I need a lawyer if my child drowned?” This will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Why are children at risk?
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in the United States for children between the ages of 1 and 14; globally, the age group of children with the highest drowning rate is 1-4. Younger children typically do not know how to swim as well as older children. They are also more prone to fall into bodies of water because they do not understand the risks of running too close to the edge of the deep end of the pool or leaning over the edge of the boat.
Families who experience drownings or near-drownings of children know how difficult it can be to recover emotionally and financially; they will probably look to the legal system to recover in any way they can. It might be necessary to hire an injury lawyer to help navigate the legal system and recover for medical bills, missed wages from time off of work, and other losses. The first difficult question that families looking to file a lawsuit must answer is whom should they sue in order to recover?
Who is responsible for the accident?
Sometimes it can be difficult to recover for water injuries based on who owns the pool or body of water in which the accident occurred. Namely, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault for the accident and is therefore liable for the drowning. There are additional requirements for suing the government for drowning injuries.
With these considerations at the forefront of the inquiry, it will be very important for you to know who owns the pool, lake, beach, or other body of water; whether there was or should have been a lifeguard; and what other safety precautions private and public pool owners need to take.
Private Property owners
If the pool or lake in which the incident occurred was privately owned by an individual, it will be easier for you to determine who should be held liable for the drowning. Someone who invites your child over to swim must have adequate precautions in place to ensure the safety of your child, and there are several preventative measures that property owners as well as authorities in charge of managing local and public pools must take to try to stop drownings from happening.
Measures that property owners must take include providing adequate fencing around pools, ponds, and lakes on the property that children cannot unlock and around which children cannot crawl. They should also be sure to install warning signs near the water to alert parents to the water and the threat it can pose to them and their children. Finally, private owners of pools and lakes should not allow anyone to use their pools or lakes without their knowledge and permission.
Private owners should be aware that they could be held liable for a drowning even if the person who drowns does not have permission to use the lake or pool. This may seem unreasonable at first, but it is due to the water being an attractive nuisance.
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
Property owners can be liable for injuries arising from an attractive nuisance in cases that might otherwise be categorized as trespass. An attractive nuisance is a dangerous condition that a landowner creates or hosts that is attractive to children. In these cases, the property owner might be responsible for the child’s drowning even if the property owner did not invite the child to swim.
In deciding whether the property owner hosted an attractive nuisance, courts look to the following factors:
- Whether the property owner took reasonable precautions to eliminate the hazard or protect children from harm
- Whether the property owner knew or should have known that children might trespass and come into contact with the hazard
- Whether the property owner tried to maintain the hazardous condition
- Whether the burden of eliminating the hazard outweighs the risk of children being harmed by the hazard
- Whether the hazard creates an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children
- Whether the children could appreciate the risk of coming into contact with the hazard
Local lakes, pools, and beaches
You also might be able to recover if your child drowned due to the negligence of a locally owned pool, lake, or beach. The property owner might directly hire lifeguards or might hire the lifeguard through an agency. The owner of the local attraction also might have failed to take other precautions that reasonable businessowners would take to ensure the safety of patrons.
The Property Owner
The property owner may have failed to put clear signage up to warn parents of the dangers of the water. The owner might be negligent if he or she did not check to ensure that the lifeguard received proper training before hiring him or her. If the owner personally trains lifeguards, then the owner could be negligent if the lifeguard did not receive training in all of the appropriate areas in which a lifeguard must be trained.
Sometimes lifeguards fail to do their job even if they have been properly trained; they might ignore the signs of someone drowning or allow children to run on slippery surfaces near the water. Other lifeguards might attempt to administer aid that they are not qualified to give, which can worsen the injury. All lifeguards should be able to provide CPR, but there is a chance that an improperly trained lifeguard will fail to give it correctly.
The Lifeguard’s Employer or Supervisor
If the lifeguard’s employer or supervisor did not equip the lifeguard to administer basic first aid for injuries specific to the place of work, then the employer or supervisor could be negligent.
Public lakes, pools, and beaches
State and federal governments own many recreational lakes and beaches. These are likely to have many safety measures already in place, and it could be difficult for you to recover for your injuries received at a government property. If you are unsure about whether you can show that the government failed to adequately keep your child safe, it could help to speak with a drowning lawyer.
Most state governments have guidelines that victims must follow to bring suits against the government or government agency. If you fail to meet the strict deadlines or incorrectly complete the specific steps, then you might lose your ability to recover from the government. Zinda Law Group drowning accident and injury lawyers are familiar with these requirements, and we can help you fulfill all of the legal obligations necessary to prepare and present a winning drowning accident case against a government entity responsible for your loss or injury.
How do i keep my child safe around water?
The depth of water that it takes for a child to drown is only the amount sufficient to cover a child’s nose and mouth, and it takes just minutes for a child to drown. Unfortunately, many drownings happen when the child’s parent or caretaker is nearby.
Parents can keep children safe by always keeping an eye on them when they are around the water; if you must leave your child even for a short time, you should have someone else watch your child or take the child with you instead. As soon as you possibly can, you should teach your child about safety around the water and to not go into pools or bodies of water without having a trusted adult in the water with him or her. Finally, as soon as your child is able, you should consider teaching your child water survival skills or taking him or her to swimming lessons.
When should i hire a lawyer near me?
You should consult an accident attorney if you are unsure about where to begin in the legal process. The accident lawyer can help you with the important considerations of when to file your claim, against whom you should file, and how to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
The injury attorney will also know what kind of compensation you can receive for your child’s drowning or near-drowning. It is likely that you could recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are those that you can easily measure, such as missed wages from time off of work and medical bills. Noneconomic damages include compensation for the pain and suffering of the victim.
Get help from a personal injury attorney
Losing a child or even nearly losing a child to drowning can be extremely traumatic for the whole family. Speak with the Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation.
Our drowning attorneys want to help you learn how you can best prevent a drowning or recover against someone who should have prevented your child’s drowning. Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee means that you do not pay us unless we win your case for you.