Drowning accidents devastate thousands of families every year. While all drowning cases involve a life ended too soon, some drowning accidents also involve legal liability. This does not mean that anyone meant for a drowning to occur, but rather that a legal liability of some sort was not met, and this led to someone drowning. If someones negligence or recklessness causes another person to drown, the victims family may receive compensation for the loss of their loved one through a wrongful death lawsuit.
When a loved one dies in a drowning accident cause by the negligence or recklessness of someone else, the victims family may sue, alleging wrongful death. This can be because someone else physically caused the drowning, or because whoever is responsible for the pool or waterway was negligent or reckless in the operation of the pool, and their behavior (or lack of action) caused the drowning in question.
For example, a public pool or swimming hole may offer lifeguards. If negligent or reckless behavior of a lifeguard contributed to a drowning death, the operator of the pool or swimming hole may be liable for wrongful death. The same can be true if a lack of maintenance at a pool, spa or swimming hole causes someone to drown.
Many drowning accidents involve water sports. Jet skis, wave runners and water skiing at times cause injuries resulting in drowning accidents. This can be through accidents in which no one is at fault, or might happen due to someones negligent or reckless behavior. For example, if downed water skier who if hit by a boat and drowns, the driver of the boat may be legally liable for causing the drowning. This can mean civil liability for wrongful death, or in more extreme cases such as boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, criminal charges for manslaughter.
Swimming Pool Regulations
States and the federal government have enacted certain requirements for those operating swimming pools or spas. For example, federal law and most state laws impose certain requirements on anyone operating a public pool.
Federal law, and a growing number of state laws now require those operating public or semi-public pools or spas to install drain covers designed to prevent drain suction in pools and many hot-tubs. Older style drain covers have often proved inadequate to prevent people most often children from getting trapped by the suction around a pools drain, which pulls water out of the pool for recirculation. The newer drain covers aim to prevent the large number of drain suction drowning accidents experienced every year.
Many public pool operators (including hotels) have already upgraded their drain covers, but some have no either due to oversight or to avoid the cost. If a drowning occurs in a pool which is out of compliance with the law, that violation can count as evidence against the pool operator in a wrongful death lawsuit.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can help determine whether anyone can be held responsible for a drowning, and help pursue recovery if possible.