Water-Related Injury Lawyers
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Water injuries are a daily occurrence throughout this country. Whether a beach, lake, or a backyard pool, there are dangers involved. Water injuries can range from drowning, to slip-and-falls, to serious bacterial infections.
COMMON TYPES OF WATER INJURIES
No matter the cause of the injury, it is important to contact attorneys experienced in dealing with all types of water injuries. Some common water injuries are as follows:
- Diving Board Accidents
- Drowning Accidents
- Defective Pool Gate
- Defective Pool Fence
- Drowning Deaths
- Diving Accidents
- Cruise Ship Accidents
- Country Club Pool Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Beach Patrol Negligence
- Child Drowning Accidents
- And More
HOW COMMON ARE WATER-RELATED INJURIES?
Water-related injuries are unfortunately all too common. Whether you are boating, swimming, or spending a day at the beach, water injury risks increase around a body of water. In some cases, you may suffer from scrapes, cuts, bruises, whiplash, or broken bones. In serious cases, water-related injuries can lead to drowning and death.
According to the CDC, from 2005 to 2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings, meaning that about 10 people die from a drowning accident every day. In children, drowning is the second leading cause of death. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Even in cases where drowning is nonfatal, it can still leave victims with severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent loss of basic functioning.
WHAT INCREASES THE RISK OF WATER-RELATED INJURIES?
There are several factors that increase the risk of a water injury. These include:
Lack of Swimming Ability
According to the Red Cross, about 50% of Americans can’t swim or perform basic swim safety skills, which increases the chances of drowning. The easiest way to reduce a water injury risk is to sign up for swimming lessons.
Lack of Supervision
Children should always be supervised near and in any body of water. From bathtubs to pools to lakes, it only takes a second for a child to slip underwater and begin to drown. Even when a lifeguard is present, parents should still watch their children at all times. For children under five or weak swimmers, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be within an arm’s length of their children when they are swimming.
Lack of Barriers
Pool fences and gates help prevent young children from entering a pool area without a supervisor. The safest pools have fences on all four sides, at least four feet high, and have a self-close latch. A four-sided fence that separates a pool from the house reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83% compared to a three-sided fence attached to a house.
Failure to Wear a Life Jacket
In 2016, the US Coast Guard found that in 83% of cases where a victim drowned, they were not wearing a life jacket. No matter your age, swimming ability, or the weather conditions, you should always wear a life jacket if you will be boating, paddling, or participating in a towed water sport.
Failure to Obey Posted Safety Warnings
Always read and pay attention to posted safety warnings. If an area is marked as a “no-diving” zone, be sure to enter the water feet first. In open bodies of water, be cautious of riptide currents, which account for over 100 deaths each year.
Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and increases your chances of a water-related injury. Alcohol use is involved in about 70% of water recreation deaths among adolescents and adults, 25% of ER visits for drowning, and 20% of boating deaths.
WHO CAN BE HELD RESPONSIBLE?
To determine who should be held responsible for your water-related injury, the specific facts about where and how your injury occurred will be important.
If you were hurt in a swimming pool accident, the pool owner may be held responsible for your injuries. Generally, a pool owner is required to routinely inspect their pool and property to find dangerous conditions. If they discover any unsafe conditions, the pool owner either needs to repair them or put up a warning sign. Pool owners who fail to repair dangerous conditions and fail to warn visitors could be held liable for a visitor’s injuries that result from these conditions.
If you were injured in a boating accident, the boat driver may be responsible for your injuries if they sped or drove recklessly, consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol, or failed to have proper safety equipment on board.
Sometimes an accident is not the fault of an individual’s behavior. A diving board can snap without warning, a floatation device may not work, and a safety feature can fail to activate. These scenarios may occur when a product was designed or manufactured defectively. A water-related injury could be the result of a poorly manufactured product, and you may be able to seek compensation from the product manufacturer.
What if the Accident is Partially My Fault?
Even if you believe you may be partially at fault for your water-related injuries, you may still be entitled to recover money. Depending on your state’s law, fault is sometimes divided between the parties. Determining fault and recovery can be complicated, but an experienced water accident attorney can help navigate the process for you.
DO PREMISES LIABILITY LAWS APPLY?
The term “premises liability” refers to certain duties that landowners need to follow to maintain their property and keep it safe for visitors. In most swimming pool accidents, premises liability laws apply. These laws will differ depending on your state, but premises liability laws generally base a landowner’s duties on the status of the visitor, who can be classified as one of the following:
An invitee is someone invited to the property for a commercial purpose. An invitee is usually on the property for the benefit of the property owner. Pools that are open to the public, whether for free or a fee, usually classify visitors as invitees.
A landowner owes invitees the highest degree of care. This means that a pool owner needs to keep the property reasonably safe and visitors of any dangerous conditions.
A licensee is a social guest who has express or implied permission to enter the property for a non-business reason. A licensee is usually on the property for their own entertainment. For example, a guest invited over for a pool party is usually a licensee.
A landowner must warn licensees of any unsafe conditions that the landowner knows about and the visitor is unlikely to discover. For example, if there is a broken spring in a diving board that could injure divers, the pool owner needs to warn their licensees.
A trespasser is someone who does not have the permission of the owner to be on the property. This could be someone who sneaks onto an owner’s property without their consent or knowledge to use their pool.
In general, landowners don’t owe trespassers any duty of care. The exception to this rule is if the trespasser is a child. In this case, the landowner must exercise reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of harm to children caused by an artificial condition, like a pool. One step that property owners can take to help reduce a water injury risk is to make sure their pool is completely fenced in and has a locked gate.
In states that don’t base a landowner’s duties on how a visitor is classified, landowners usually owe all visitors a duty to maintain their land in a reasonably safe condition and to warn of dangers that are known or should have been discovered.
What Does the Injured Person Need to Prove?
Once the injured person determines what level of duty the landowner owes, the injured person must prove that the landowner breached the duty owed, this breach caused the harm, and the injured person was in fact harmed. Proving each of these elements can be difficult to do on your own. Call Zinda Law to speak with an experienced water injury attorney.
Get Help from Our Water Injury Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our water injury attorneys have a wealth of knowledge and experience in water-related injury cases. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and much more.
We believe a victim injured in a water accident should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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