Going to the lake to swim, fish, or ride around on the family boat, spending time with family and friends on a hot summer day, is a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Unfortunately, those recreational activities can often lead to serious injuries or even death.

Water-related accidents, including boating collisions, accidental drownings, and other serious water-related incidents occur far too often and can leave victims and their families wondering what recourse they have and what legal action they can take. Figuring out what to do next and what steps to take can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. But you do not have to go through this process alone. If you or a loved one suffered a water-related injury while at a lake, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with an experienced Colorado Springs water injury lawyer.

The Importance of taking safety precautions when visiting a LAKE

Unfortunately, hundreds of serious injuries and deaths occur every year as a result of recreational water activities. In fact, in its annual Recreational Boating Statistics Report for 2019, the Coast Guard found that there were a total of 4,168 recreational boating accidents, resulting in 2,559 injuries and 613 deaths. Based on this data, the Coast Guard concluded that the leading causes of these boating accidents are “operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use.”

Aside from boating-related injuries, fatal and non-fatal drownings are other risks associated with recreational water activities. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that from 2005-2014 a total of 3,536 fatalities were caused by accidental drownings in non-boating-related accidents. These statistics show that injuries from water-related accidents are common, and if you have been involved in this type of accident you should seek legal advice about your potential claim and legal remedies.

Although water-related injuries are common, they are preventable if proper precautions are taken. Keep the following tips in mind for the next time you decide to head to the lake; it could help prevent serious injury or even death from occurring.

Take Formal Swimming Lessons

If you do not know how to swim or you are not confident with your swimming skills, taking some formal swimming lessons before trying to swim in an open body of water can reduce the risk of, and even prevent, accidental drownings. Taking formal swimming lessons before heading to the lake is a preventative measure that is not only a good way to learn basic swimming skills or brush up on proper swimming techniques, but can also save a life and prevent serious water injuries.

Wear a Life Jacket

Whether you are on a boat or going for a swim in an open body of water, wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket can save your life if you are unexpectedly thrown overboard or get caught in a rip current. Using a life jacket greatly reduces the risk of accidental drownings; about half of all boating deaths could be prevented with the proper use of life jackets.

Please note that recreational floatation devices such as air-filled or foam toys are not a replacement for life jackets as they are not specifically designed to keep swimmers safe.

Learn CPR

Learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and being able to apply those skills in an emergency situation can save lives. In a life-or-death situation, every moment counts, and it takes time for medical personnel to arrive on the scene. That is why people who are going to engage in recreational water activities should learn CPR before heading to the lake; beginning CPR as soon as possible in an emergency situation “has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims.”

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption slows reaction time, clouds judgement, and distorts perception. These side effects are also heightened by exposure to heat and the sun, which is why alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of death and serious injuries associated with recreational water activities. The Coast Guard and the CDC report that alcohol use was the biggest cause of fatal boating accidents in 2019, contributing to 70% of all fatalities associated with recreational water activities. Limiting alcohol consumption when engaging in recreational water activities can save lives and help prevent water-related injuries, so please drink responsibly, especially when around open bodies of water.

Use the Buddy System and Supervise Young Children at all Times

Adults and especially young children can drown in a matter of minutes, and it often happens silently. That is why you should always have someone with you when you enter the water. This simple safety precaution can help avoid serious injuries and accidental drownings. When young children are around open bodies of water, one adult should be designated to engage in “touch supervision,” which means staying within reach of the child at all times. That adult should not engage in other distracting activities simultaneously.


The safety tips mentioned above are not only important because they can help prevent serious injuries and deaths, but they are also relevant because they may indicate the standard of care for certain interactions. In other words, if a person fails to exercise the safety measures listed above and that person’s careless or reckless behavior causes the death or serious injury of another person, that may be grounds for certain legal claims. That said, if you or a loved one experienced a water-related injury as a result of someone else’s reckless or careless behavior, you may be able to bring a claim against that party for negligence, wrongful death, or a survival action.


A negligence action is a legal claim asserting that the defendant’s careless and reckless behavior breached their duty to act as a reasonable person in the circumstances and caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Four elements must be met to establish a negligence claim.

1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.

2. The defendant breached that duty of care.

3. The plaintiff was injured.

4. The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injury.

In order to succeed on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must be able to show evidence that supports each of the four elements listed above. That is why if you or a loved one suffered from a water-related injury because of someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, you should seek legal counsel with an experienced Colorado Springs water injury lawyer; you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Wrongful death

A wrongful death suit is a claim that the family of the deceased person files against the defendant for causing the death of their loved one via negligence or misconduct. Wrongful death claims compensate family members of the deceased for the harm they suffer for having to live without the emotional and financial support of the deceased person. In Colorado, only the surviving parents, spouse, or children of the deceased person can bring a claim for wrongful death. Colorado law also requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the person’s death.

The complex nature of wrongful death claims often makes these types of cases more difficult to litigate compared to personal injury cases, which is why hiring an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases can ensure that you not only compile a compelling and legally sound case, but that you also receive just compensation for your claims.

Survival Action

A survival action is similar to a wrongful death action, but instead of focusing on compensation for the family member’s losses associated with the death of a loved one, survival actions consist of personal injury claims the deceased person could have brought on their own behalf if they had survived the accident. In that sense, claims and damages are centered around the losses and injuries that the victim suffered starting from the time of the initial injury until their death.

Types of compensation for a COLORADO springs water injury

The damages available for water injury claims are generally the same as the type of compensation that is available for most personal injury cases. Damages include both economic and non-economic damages.

Damages Available for Negligence Claims

Economic damages are meant to compensate the injured party for monetary losses or expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Types of economic damages that are recoverable in a water injury negligence case include: medical bills, lost income, loss of earning capacity, and out of pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages are less definite and harder to quantify. Non-economic damages that are recoverable in a Colorado Springs water injury case include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, emotional distress, disfigurement, and disability.

Damages Available for Wrongful Death Claims

Family members bringing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one may also receive economic and non-economic compensation for their claims. Types of recoverable economic compensation include medical expenses, funeral expenses, burial costs, out of pocket expenses, loss of financial support, loss of income, lost wages, loss of benefits, and lost prospect of inheritance. Forms of non-economic compensation that are recoverable for wrongful death claims include loss of companionship and pain and suffering.

Damages Available for Survival Action

Damages are slightly more limited in survival cases but types of recoverable compensation include medical bills, lost earnings or expenses incurred prior to death, personal property damage, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering of the victim before death. Like, wrongful death actions, survival actions can also be quite complex, which is why if you recently suffered the loss of a loved one and believe that you may have grounds for a survival action, you should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to assist you with your claim.


Figuring out what to do and what your next steps should be after you were involved in a lake accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. Seeking legal advice about what actions you should take can alleviate some stress and help offset the burden of dealing with the aftermath of the accident.

The attorneys at Zinda Law Group have years of experience handling water injury cases and are happy to discuss your case and guide you through the process if you choose to file a lawsuit. That is why, if you or a loved one in the Colorado Springs area were injured on a lake or suffered a water-related injury, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Colorado Springs water injury attorneys.

Please note that meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.