Since there are miles of beaches near Los Angeles and other cities along Californian's long coastline and 1.2 million residential pools in the (250,000 in LA), visiting the beach and swimming in a home pool are part of the California way of life. Unfortunately, 1,810 Californians died by drowning between 2009-2018, making the state third behind Florida (1,945) and Texas (1,857). Nationwide, this figure jumps to 24,190 with 21.3% of drownings taking place in pools, 25.9% in lakes, 27.2% in rivers, and 10.4% in oceans. Boating accidents account for about 10% of drownings.
When someone dies in a drowning accident, whose fault is it? Can a grieved parent sue for damages? While the liability if drowning accidents may vary, the Hartunian Law Firm can help you determine who might be at fault and initiate litigation.
The Sad Truth About Drowning
These figures do not tell the whole story. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 3,300 Americans die each year in unintentional drowning accidents.
One-third of fatal drowning victims are children, making child drowning injuries the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. For every one child who dies in a drowning accident, another five children will require emergency medical care in a hospital or other facility.
The likely location of drowning occurs depends on age. Among children 1-4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools, but as people age, the percentage of drownings increases for natural water settings, including lakes, rivers, and oceans. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those 15 years and older (57% and 57% respectively) occurred in natural water settings. Swimming pool accidents account for a large percentage of drowning injuries.
Drowning can occur in 1 or 2 inches of water in bathtubs, buckets, toilets, and spas and hot tubs as well as pools and natural bodies of water. Drowning often occurs quickly and silently: within just a few minutes, a child or other drowning victim can lose consciousness, suffer brain damage, and die.
Near-drowning accidents come with high risks for the survivors. Of victims who survive a drowning accident, many will be left with serious brain damage that can result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and even coma. The cost of treating drowning accidents is often tremendous. Medical costs for near-drowning accidents can range from $75,000 for initial medical treatment, to as much as $4.5 million in patients who have suffered brain damage in a drowning accident.
Liability in Drowning Accidents
Liability in drowning depends on where the incident occurs.
- Private swimming pools must comply with many safety requirements such as special enclosures, safety latches, and alarms which may make the owner or renter liable if they do not comply.
- For drownings in public pools, potential defendants are the owners or operators, although staff such as lifeguards could be sued as well.
- For drowning when someone falls off boats, the boat owner or operator may responsible if they were under the influence or did not provide lifejackets.
- When children or adults who need supervision drown, the responsible adult is a likely target of lawsuits.
Your Hartunian Law Firm attorney will explore whether the case might be best litigated as a premises liability, product liability, negligence, or wrongful death case, or a combination of all these. Our firm has expert knowledge in each of these legal areas and can evaluate the best approach to compensate you for your loss.
Unfortunately, some drownings are accidents with no easy target of liability, or the victim assumed the risk, waived liability, or was partly responsible.
Contact Hartunian Law Firm Today
After a drowning accident, calling the Hartunian Law Firm is to determine if you have a case. We offer a free consultation about your case in English or Spanish, assist with costs along the way, and don't get paid until we win your case.
If you can't come to our Palm Springs or Los Angeles office, we'll even come to your home, office, or hospital room to learn about your case. Our staff will provide you with the reliable and compassionate personal service you need throughout the process of winning your case.
If you've had an accident, access to justice awaits at the other end of the phone. Call us today Toll-Free at 844-404-0007 or at our Palm Springs office at 760-575-5555 or our Los Angeles Location at 310-552-0007.