If you were injured in a near-drowning accident or a relative drowned, we recommend speaking with Lugar Law PC. Our attorneys are ready and able to represent individuals and surviving family members affected by boating and swimming pool accidents. It goes without saying that these cases can be devastating. We understand you are dealing with the physical, emotional, financial, and other dreadful ramifications of the incident. Dealing with a lawsuit or an insurance claim can simply be too much right now.
We are here to handle your claim for full and fair compensation. Whether we focus on taking the liable party to court or negotiating a settlement, our priority will be you, your family, and securing the maximum compensation possible.
Common Causes of Drowning and Near-Drowning Accidents
We can handle drowning cases involving:
- Lack of appropriate supervision
- Unattended children
- Lack of adequate personal flotation devices (life jackets)
- Lack of appropriate barrier to a pool or other water feature (fence and locked gates)
- Lack of appropriate water safety equipment (throwing devices)
- Inadequate swimming skills
- Inappropriate activities on thin ice
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Negligent operation of a boat
- Boating collisions
- Failing or malfunctioning boat equipment
- Driving through flooded roads
- Failure to recognize a drowning victim
- Inadequate or lack of training for lifeguards
Signs of Drowning
Drowning is much more subtle than people expect. There may not be any flailing hands or yells from the person in trouble. The preceding picture of drowning is a dangerous and pervasive myth.
Owners, operators, and lifeguards at pools and other bodies of water should know proper signs of distress and be trained to look out for drowning signs before it is too late.
Common signs of drowning include when a person:
- Is low in the water with their mouth at water level;
- Has their head is titled back with mouth open;
- Has glassy eyes that are unable to focus or has their eyes closed;
- Has hair flopped over into their forehead or eyes;
- Is not using their legs to remain vertical;
- Is gasping for breath or hyperventilating;
- Is trying to swim or ?doggy paddle? but not making any progress;
- Is unable to roll over onto their back;
- Looks like they are climbing an invisible ladder;
- Has extended their arms to the side to push down; and
- Does not respond to a call within a few seconds.
If you believe the person responsible for supervising you or your loved one failed to identify drowning signs or was not properly trained, contact a drowning lawyer immediately. This may be evidence of negligence, which you may be able to use to obtain compensation from the owner or operator.
Pool Owners and Boat Operators Are Responsible for Preventing Drowning
Boat owners and operators should maintain their vessels and keep them in good working order. Operators should be aware of navigational rules and appropriate speeds, as well as how to avoid man overboard incidents. Boat owners and operators also should have life jackets available for those inboard and other devices to retrieve someone who falls overboard.
Pool owners and operators can also take several steps to prevent swimming pool injuries. Pool owners, whether they are individuals, businesses, or government agencies, must take steps to secure the pool from trespassers, including wandering children. This includes fencing, locked gates or doors, and gate and door alarms.
Whenever the pool is open to others, there should be appropriate supervision. This includes well-trained lifeguards at a public pool or adults when children are swimming in a homeowner?s pool. Whether it is a public or private pool, there also should be appropriate safety and water rescue equipment.
Another step to preventing drowning is ensuring those allowed on a boat or in a pool have basic swimming skills. Swimming, floating, and sculling are all essential skills, and if a child does not have these abilities, they should never be left unattended near water.
Finally, drowning prevention relies on well-trained and careful lifeguards and supervisors. At busy pools, waterparks, and beaches, things can get out of hand. Kids can get stuck under inner tubes. A weak swimmer may go too far in the ocean or lake. Lifeguards should be able to help people in trouble and assist them before a tragic drowning or near-drowning.
If you believe someone failed to take steps to prevent a drowning or other similar-type incident, call our attorneys immediately. We will investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and recommend the best next steps.
Who Is at Fault in a Drowning Accident?
The party at fault for a drowning accident or near-drowning accident is typically the party whose negligence led to the incident and victim?s injuries or death.
Negligence is defined as a breach of a duty of care that causes someone harm. People typically need to act as a reasonably prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances. This is considered akin to carelessness. When someone fails to act as a reasonably prudent person, and their carelessness causes someone harm, then the victim can hold that person liable.
Another form of negligence is failing to adhere to federal, state, and local laws. Pool owners, whether a home or business owner, must adhere to Virginia?s laws regarding pool safety as well as any relevant local ordinances.
Negligence in a drowning accident can come from a wide range of places, which is why you need to retain an experienced drowning attorney.
The liable party might be a:
- Boat operator, boat passenger, or manufacturer or distributor of a defective boat part;
- Homeowner or business responsible for the operation and supervision of a private pool;
- Manufacturer or distributor of defective safety equipment; or
- Municipality responsible for the operation and supervision of a public pool.
Compensation for Drowning Victims? Families
If you lost a parent, spouse, or child in a drowning accident, call Lugar Law PC immediately. After reviewing the circumstances, we may advise filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible individual or business. If your loved one drowned at a public pool, we would recommend a different process that begins filing a notice of claim with the appropriate government agency.
Through a wrongful death claim, the personal representative of your loved one?s estate can pursue compensation for the surviving close family members, including:
- Loss of the decedent?s income;
- Loss of decedent?s services, care, protection, and assistance;
- Family member?s sorrow, mental anguish, and grief;
- Medical expenses incurred between the date of the accident and the decedent?s passing; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Near-drowning occurs when a person is submerged and unable to breathe for a period of time. In many cases, liquid enters the lungs and prevents the organs from absorbing oxygen.
Injuries resulting from near-drownings includes:
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Respiratory failure
- Hypoxic/Anoxic brain injuries (oxygen deprivation)
- Brain edema
- Memory loss
- Learning and cognitive disabilities
- Permanent vegetative state
When your child or loved one survives a near-drowning but is severely injured, call us right away. Near-drowning accidents can lead to permanent brain damage. The extent of the damage depends on the length of time the individual went without oxygen. In some cases, a child or adult who suffered a near-drowning can recover fully or to a significant extent. In other circumstances, your loved one may now suffer from permanent deficits.
Let our attorneys fight for your loved one to receive full and fair compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, reduced earning capacity, and reduced quality of life.
Contact Lugar Law PC After a Drowning Accident
Whether you lost a loved one by drowning, or you or a relative suffered injuries in a near-drowning, we can help. Let experienced lawyer Cerid Lugar investigate the accident and advise you of your rights and legal options. If the law entitles you or your family to compensation, we will guide you through the process of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit and negotiating an insurance settlement. We will fight hard for you to receive the maximum compensation possible.