Summer is the time of year when many people head to lakes, rivers, and pools for some refreshing time on the water. Unfortunately visits to pools and lakes can also result in tragic accidental drowning.
Some tips to prevent drowning include adequate supervision, refraining from alcohol in the water, using the “buddy” system or always swimming with a friend, and learning how to swim adequately before going into deep water. Ultimately, there is no substitute for adequate supervision of children around water.
There are some common settings for drowning and water related injuries such as public and private pools, lakes, and rivers.
Public pools typically have to follow certain requirements to help prevent drowning. Lifeguards are the primary way to prevent drownings, and typically there should be one lifeguard for every twenty swimmers. Lifeguards also usually have a 10-10 rule which means that they need to scan the entire pool every ten seconds and then get anyone who is drowning or struggling out of the pool within ten seconds. Public pools also need to be clear enough that the main drain in the deep end is visible, and they should have proper CPR equipment such as oxygen and a defibrillator available.
Response time is critical because most people who are revived within 3-4 minutes do not suffer serious brain damage. If the lifeguards were negligent and an individual drowns or is injured due to a near drowning, there may be a legal case for damages against the pool owner.
The most common defense of the pool owner is that the individual had a medical condition such as a seizure or heart attack that caused them to be rendered unconscious. Many defendants will make this claim even if the individual has no prior medical history of seizures or other conditions and even if there is no medical evidence of the event occurring. However as long as the individual would have recovered from the medical condition, the pool owner still is liable for the negligence because the failure to rescue is ultimately responsible for the death.
Owners of private pools may be held liable for injuries or drowning in the pool if the pool was not maintained in a safe manner or if they failed to supervise someone who was an inexperienced swimmer if the homeowner knew, or should have known, the swimmer was inexperienced. In this case, the injured person would typically bring a claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy.
Drowning in a lake or river is often the result of the use of recreational vehicles, alcohol, strong currents, or a failure to supervise children. Because accidents at these locations are often away from home, many people are unaware that homeowners insurance typically covers injury or drowning in a lake or river which was a result of someone else’s negligence.
The experienced attorneys at Patterson Legal Group, LC are able to answer any questions regarding a drowning or a water related injury. They have handled numerous drowning cases and are here to help in any way they can.