Fatal drownings and near-drowning incidents can have profound and permanent repercussions. From serious injuries to losing a loved one, victims facing these consequences may have the right to pursue legal action if they believe the incident could and should have been prevented if not for another’s negligence.
At The Becker Law Firm, we focus on litigating matters within the civil justice system – a platform which provides victims and families an opportunity to make their voices heard in the fight for justice and financial compensation.
Backed by award-winning lawyers, we’re known for tackling challenging, high-stakes cases, and helping clients across Ohio and beyond secure millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.
Why Choose The Becker Law Firm?
- Led By an NBTA Certified Civil Trial Specialist (Michael Becker)
- Nationally Recognized Legal Team with Over 100 Years’ Experience
- Proven Results in Complex Injury & Wrongful Death Cases
- Unwavering Commitment to Clients, Personal Attention
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Drowning Accidents & Non-Fatal Near-Drowning Injuries
Time on the water is meant to be an enjoyable experience, but statistics reveal the deadly risks faced by swimmers, boaters, and others who spend time in, on, or near bodies of water. As the CDC reports:
- An average of 10 people die each day from unintentional drownings in the U.S.;
- Roughly 20% of drowning victims are children ages 14 or younger;
- For each child who dies as a result of drowning, another 5 require emergency medical attention for nonfatal near-drowning injuries;
- Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death nationwide.
- Boating accidents account for a large percentage of drowning accidents – with over 330 deaths attributed to boating-related incidents each year.
Drownings, by definition, are fatal events. Other incidents involving non-fatal submersion injuries are typically referred to as near-drownings. Near-drowning events, though not fatal, can still cause serious injuries and impairments, including brain damage, learning disabilities, and permanent cognitive deficits.
Drowning Accidents: Do I Have a Claim?
The circumstances surrounding drowning accidents can vary widely, as can accident sites. Both drownings and near-drownings are reported at facilities such as:
- Private pools (in-ground and above-ground)
- Community / public pools
- Lakes (i.e. incidents involving boating accidents)
- Rivers, streams, and ponds
- Hot tubs / Jacuzzis
- Oceans / open waters
While the unique facts of a drowning accident will determine if you may have a potential personal injury or wrongful death claim, it’s important to evaluate whether the incident was preventable if not for the negligent or wrongful acts of another.
Negligence & Liability in Drowning Accident Cases
In civil injury cases, proving negligence and causation are two critical objectives. Our attorneys can explore your case and the evidence which may exist to establish those elements, but some general examples can help you understand what that means:
Premises Liability – Premises liability laws can help victims hold property owners accountable for failures, violations, and negligence which precipitates preventable accidents. In terms of drowning and near-drowning accidents, potential grounds for such a claim may involve, among others:
- Lack of adequate supervision or lifeguards (i.e. a negligent private party / homeowner, day care facility, hotel or private club, etc.);
- Lack of warning signs and postings / lack of fences or gates which would have prevented victims or children from entering facility;
- Lack of life-saving equipment, including flotation devices / life preservers;
- Failures to address known hazards (i.e. broken jets or pool pumps, insufficient lighting, uneven or slippery surfaces.
Product Liability – Product liability laws also offer victims a pathway toward justice and compensation from at-fault manufacturers, distributors, and / or retailers of defective products which cause or contribute to drownings or near-drownings. These cases may involve:
- Defective floatation devices that fail to work as intended, or cause / contribute to submersion;
- Defective pool equipment or pool cleaners that entrap swimmers;
- Defective life saving devices.
Other Issues in Drowning Cases – Drowning and near-drowning accidents may also involve other issues concerning liability, victims’ rights, and the process by which financial recoveries can be made, including:
- Public facilities – Drowning incidents at publicly owned pools may be subject to different laws and civil rules and procedures. Claims against a municipality, for example, may introduce issues of limited liability, as well as shorter statutes of limitations.
- Trespassing – Property owners are not generally liable for accidents sustained by people who trespass upon their land, but there may be situations where claims can be brought by victims who are, by definition, trespassers. This is most common in accidents involving children, such as when a child wanders onto a property because of an “attractive nuisance” such as a pool or play equipment. In Ohio, the state Supreme Court adopted the attractive nuisance doctrine in 2001, making landowners potentially liable for injuries or deaths suffered by children whose damages occurred when they trespassed onto the landowner’s property due to a condition likely to attract children unable to understand potential risks, or any hazardous condition.
- Boating Accidents – Though many drowning accidents happen in pools, there are also common at lakes, rivers, and open waters where boats and water sports are present. In these circumstances, victims must explore potential causes of action for their boating accident lawsuit, such as a negligent, drunk / impaired, or inattentive boater, or failures committed by product manufacturers.
Questions? Call The Becker Law Firm
The Becker Law Firm is committed to helping clients in their fight for justice, and leverages extensive experience and expertise to pursue the maximum compensation possible. To discuss a potential case and how our team may be able to help you, contact us for a free consultation.