Death by drowning is an all-too-common occurrence during the summer months. If your child drowned, or suffered serious personal injuries from a near-drowning accident, you may be able to recover damages from the owner of the facility in which the accident occurred.
Who may be held responsible for drowning accidents?
The law regarding the liability of swimming-facility owners for swimming accidents may depend not only on the particular state and municipality in which the facility is located but on the nature of the owner of that facility, as well.
• Private Pools
The private owner of property on which a pool is located may be held liable for the death or injury of a swimmer if the owner’s negligence is found to have been a cause of the injury or death. Homeowners with backyard pools who have not taken proper precautions to prevent neighborhood children from accessing such pools may be found liable for damages caused to children who find their way into the pool, even if the children were trespassing.
Owners of pools in hotels and private clubs may be liable for injuries or death caused by the owner’s negligence. Such an owner may be relieved of liability, however, if, for instance, the owner posted warnings that parents must supervise their children while they are using the pool and the child’s injury resulted from the parent’s failure to heed the warning.
• Public Facilities
Owners of property made available for public use may be immune from liability for drowning accidents under a state’s recreational use statute. Generally, such statutes provide that anyone who makes land available to the public for recreational purposes and does not charge a fee owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe or warn of dangerous conditions. Whether or not such an owner may still be found liable can depend on whether the land is developed or undeveloped and on whether the owner acted willfully or maliciously rather than negligently.
What are your legal options?
• Personal Injury Actions
Your child’s injuries following survival of a swimming accident can include permanent brain damage, memory loss, and limited functioning. If the owner of a facility has been found liable for your child’s injuries, you may be able to recover damages for your child’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, future care, and loss of earnings.
• Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
If your child has drowned as a result of a swimming-facility-owner’s negligence, you may bring an action for damages that you have suffered as a result of your child’s death under your state’s Wrongful Death Act. If, for example, you are the administrator of your child’s estate, you may be able to bring a claim for certain damages your child could have recovered if he or she had survived under your state’s Survival Act.
Seek Expert Assistance for Complicated Legal Actions
Child-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino is experienced in drowning and near-drowning matters and will make every effort to see that you are compensated by those responsible for your child’s injuries or death.