Drowning Lawyer Serving Riverside & San Bernardino
Southern California is a great place for swimmers. With long, hot summers, and plenty of access to public and private swimming pools, swimming takes place year-round. Pools dot Riverside and San Bernardino, helping swimmers get the most out of living in The Golden State. Unfortunately, pool owner negligence, lack of maintenance, and poor supervision all contribute to tragic drowning incidents. As a drowning victim or a loved one, you have rights. Talk to our lawyers to explore your options if this happened to someone you love.
Liability for Drowning Accidents
A drowning accident can be terrifying. Every second counts when you or a loved one is submerged and cannot breathe. Fast action and medical care are crucial to the outcome of the situation. Most public pools use lifeguards, life rafts, floatation devices, and other means to help prevent drowning. Lack of pool supervision is a common cause of fatal drowning accidents, especially in children. If the pool at a school, community center, hotel, gym, or spa did not have adequate supervision, you may have grounds to sue. Other forms of negligence include:
- Negligent, inattentive, or reckless lifeguards.
- Lack of adult supervision at a pool party.
- Lack of pool maintenance and upkeep.
- Failure to replace old or faulty drain covers.
- Failure to post safety warnings, such as “No Diving” in a shallow pool.
- Failure to keep a swimming pool or other body of water safe from trespassing children.
- Intentionally pushing someone’s head under water.
Owners of properties with pools have what the law calls “attractive nuisances.” An attractive nuisance is a property element that attracts children, but poses a threat to their safety. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and trampolines are all examples of attractive nuisances. Property owners with these elements must take due care to prevent injuries to wandering children. This may include putting up a fence or barrier to block entry to a pool. Failure to do so, resulting in someone sneaking into the pool and drowning, may be negligence.
How to Prove Your Drowning Claim
Like most other personal injury claims, the plaintiff in a drowning case needs to have four main elements to qualify for a settlement or verdict. First, that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Examples include the duty of a hotel to maintain its pool, or the duty of a school supervisor to watch children in the campus pool. Second, that the defendant acted in a way that went against his or her duty of care to the plaintiff. For instance, the hotel never replaced an old drain cover despite knowing it was dangerous, or the school supervisor left the swimming pool to answer a phone call.
The third element is that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must show a connection between the defendant’s act of negligence and the drowning injuries in question. Finally, the plaintiff must show proof of real damages. Drowning often results in serious injuries – particularly, brain damage from lack of oxygen for a prolonged period of time. Physical injuries, disabilities, medical bills, and lost wages from missing work all qualify as real damages, as do pain and emotional suffering. For help proving the necessary elements in a drowning claim, contact the lawyers at DeWitt Algorri + Algorri, PC.