June 21st marked the summer solstice of 2017, the longest day of the year and the official kickoff of summer. The kids are finally off school, and families are making their way to the neighborhood pool, the nearest lake, and the coasts. Teenagers are feeling more adventurous, maybe ready to take their kayaks to the river, and college students are home, ready to blow off some steam at a pool party or on a beach trip.
It’s no secret that summer fun brings with it a higher rate of drowning accidents than any other season. In the United States, over 3,000 people die in drowning accidents every year, and about one-third of these are children. According to research from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest risk for drowning, making it the third leading cause of death in children ages 1 through 5.
In many cases, drowning accidents are caused by someone’s negligent or reckless behavior. This can look different depending on the scenario, but the most common form of negligence in drowning accidents is a lapse in adult supervision.
Who is Responsible When Someone Dies in a Drowning Accident?
The drowning of a loved one is an intensely difficult and emotional time for everyone involved, and it often leaves family members asking: how could this have happened?
The vast majority of drowning accidents are just that, accidents. Nevertheless, if one of your loved ones drowns because of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, even thought it was an accident, you are entitled to compensation for your economic, emotional, and psychological suffering.
Negligence at Someone’s Private Pool
A homeowner has a certain level of responsibility to keep his or her guests from harm while they are visiting. Homeowner negligence can include, but is not limited to the following:
Failure to supervise or provide supervision for any children present
Failure to keep the pool and premises around the pool in good condition
Knowingly providing damaged or faulty flotation devices
Instigating, allowing, or encouraging dangerous games, underage drinking, or any kind of horseplay
Each state and residential area has its own set of rules concerning what a pool owner must do to keep their backyard up to code. If one of your loved ones has drowned while visiting someone else’s property, it’s important to consult a lawyer to make sure the property owner was following all safety regulations.
Although a homeowner is almost never liable for anything that happens for someone trespassing on their property, pool owners do have a certain level of responsibility to keep curious neighborhood kids from drowning in their pool, due to a legal theory called “attractive nuisance.” Because pools are known to attract children, pool owners are required to erect effective barriers, such as a tall and well-maintained fence, to keep wandering children safe. If your child was trespassing when they were killed in a drowning accident, you can still take the details of the accident to a lawyer to find out if you have a solid negligence claim.
Negligence at a Public Pool
The company or property owner of a public or neighborhood pool is legally obligated to follow certain regulations to ensure the safety of their patrons. Just as each neighborhood has different rules for its residents’ pools, there are different laws for what a public pool must have on its premises. Here are the most common forms of negligence at a public pool:
Lack of legally required warning signs
Poor security around the pool, such as a damaged fence
Failure to keep the pool or property in good condition
Faulty installation of pool equipment
Distracted or poorly trained lifeguards
Negligence on a Boat
Just as a property owner is responsible for what happens on his or her land, a boat operator is responsible for driving in way that keeps everyone safe from harm. If one of your loved ones was knocked overboard, or drowned after a boating accident while on someone else’s boat, one or multiple boat operators could be considered negligent, depending on the incident. Here are some of most common forms of negligence in boating accidents:
Failure to have the proper safety equipment on board
Driving without nautical charts
Driving under the influence
A motorboat hitting a sailboat
Again, each state has its own regulations on what boat operators are required to have and do on board to keep their passengers safe. If your loved one died in a drowning accident while on someone else’s boat, a personal injury lawyer will be able to determine if this was caused by any negligence.
This personal injury lawyer website is for informational purposes only. The viewer's understanding of the information on this website does not constitute a formal legal relationship with The Law Offices of Blake R. Maislin LLC. This personal injury lawyer website is not to be used as formal legal advice. Please contact our Cincinnati injury lawyer to schedule a complimentary consultation if you need professional legal advice in Ohio or Northern Kentucky. CONTRIBUTORS: Haley Crigger