If Someone You Love Drowned in a Tragic Accident, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help.
Swimming pools are great fun and can be a relief on hot summer days. But what many families fail to realize is just how dangerous a swimming pool can be. For more than 60 years, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has helped victims of unintentional drowning and their family members. Let us help you get the justice you deserve for your loss.
Understanding drowning laws and pool owners’ responsibilities is key for drowning accident lawyers. Our premises liability attorneys are experts in the laws that apply to drowning accidents. We provide FREE consultations and are ready to discuss your or your loved one’s drowning accident. Call our drowning accident attorneys today, chat with us, or use our online contact form.
How Often Do Drowning Accidents Occur?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning incidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 years old in the United States. They are the second leading cause of death after motor vehicle accidents for children ages 1 through 14 years old.
Every year, there are an estimated 3,960 drowning deaths and 8,080 nonfatal drowning injuries in the U.S. In fact, for every child who dies from drowning another eight receive emergency care from a non-fatal drowning. More than 40% of drowning injuries treated in emergency departments require hospitalization.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Drowning Accident in Pennsylvania?
Drowning is preventable. Those who own pools or are responsible for public pools have a duty to protect against known or foreseeable dangers. It is their responsibility to take simple steps that can prevent unauthorized or unsupervised use of pools or other dangerous bodies of water.
The right party to hold accountable for your loved one’s drowning will largely depend on the location of the accident. The most common drowning accident liable parties are homeowners or those responsible for:
- Public pools
- Private pools
- Hot tubs
- Resorts with aquatic features
- Resorts with beach access
- Water parks
- Recreational centers
What Are the Responsibilities of Pool Owners and Managers?
All pool owners and managers have responsibilities under the law. So do resorts and other properties that provide access to the beach and other water areas. Pool owners and others who provide access to water areas will be held liable for any drowning accident if they do not follow these precautions.
Public Pools and Aquatic Centers Open to the Public
People responsible for pools, hot tubs, water parks, and other aquatic centers must inspect and maintain pool fences, gates, and locks. They must keep these features in good working order.
Also, pool owners must inspect and properly maintain all pool and hot tub drain covers. This prevents swimmers from being trapped or suctioned under the water.
Likewise, pool owners must hire qualified lifeguards, post warning signs, and provide life-saving equipment.
Hotels and Resorts
Similarly, hotels and resorts with beach access have the same duty of care. However, they also have a duty to warn guests about known risks like rip tides and undertows.
Private Swimming Pools
Owners of swimming pools on private property, including private homes, apartment complexes, and condominium associations, are also required to protect against drowning accidents by adopting safety measures to prevent aquatic accidents.
Much like owners of public pools, they must maintain their pools, drain covers, fences, gates, and locks to ensure they are in good working order and safe.
Get the Justice Your Drowning Victim Deserves. Get Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
Most pool owners have liability insurance that covers them for a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim arising out of an accidental drowning caused by negligence. This is true for homeowners, public pool owners, resort owners, and the like. This means that a drowning victim or their family will be dealing with an insurance company in order to get the compensation they deserve. It is important to have experienced drowning accident lawyers on your side when dealing with an insurance company.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has experience dealing with insurance companies in drowning accidents. We can ensure you are not settling for compensation below what you deserve. If you need a drowning accident lawyer, you need Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
Our nationally recognized team of drowning lawyers is ready to help you. We are listed as the Best Lawyers in America and our partners have been board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys wins millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and verdicts and we would like to put our attorneys to work for you. Our lawyers collaborate on cases and that means that you get the benefit of having a team of lawyers on your side.
Our initial evaluations are absolutely FREE and we do not collect a fee unless we win your personal injury case for you. Call us today or use our simple online contact form. We are here to help, so contact us today to get justice for your loved one.
What Kinds of Accident Cases Can a Drowning Victim or Their Family Members File?
There are at least three different kinds of drowning lawsuits that an accident lawyer can file on behalf of a drowning victim or their family.
A negligence claim gives drowning victims the opportunity to seek compensation if their physical or mental injuries were the result of a negligent act caused by an individual or entity. Drowning accident negligence cases are handled by personal injury attorneys and require that the personal injury lawyer prove the four requirements of negligence.
In determining negligence under Pennsylvania law, drowning accidents lawyers must prove four things:
- a duty recognized by the law that requires a person to act in accordance with a certain standard of conduct;
- a failure to act in accordance with the required standard of conduct;
- a causal connection between the conduct and the victim’s injury; and
- actual loss or damage to the victim.
Premises liability is a legal concept that holds a property owner liable for any injuries to a person that occurred on their property. All property owners in Pennsylvania have a duty of care to maintain reasonably safe conditions for people on their property.
Drowning accident cases based on premises liability are similar to most other types of personal injury lawsuits in that accident lawyers must prove negligence on the part of the property owner. When unsafe or defective conditions on someone else’s property cause an injury, the law is on the side of the victim.
Still, it is important to have a personal injury attorney who understands the legal complexities that come with proving the property owner is responsible.
Wrongful death lawsuit
If a loved one died, family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of drowning victims may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In it, compensation may be received for:
- Medical and funeral costs
- Lost earnings and benefits of the deceased
- Loss of care and companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of security for those dependent on the deceased
- Punitive damages in cases involving gross negligence
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to relieve the financial burden on a family after the death of a loved one and to secure their financial future so the family can grieve and move forward with life.
Of course, no amount of money can make up for the loss of a beloved family member or spouse. But, financial compensation can alleviate the financial burdens caused by a wrongful death and can provide future security for family members. Plus, knowing that those responsible for the wrongful death have been brought to justice can provide some peace of mind.
What Are Typical Injuries Suffered by a Drowning Victim?
A drowning accident is serious. Of course, the most serious outcome of drowning incidents is a drowning death. But even when a person survives, they can suffer long-term impairments. These long-term problems can cause extensive financial and emotional hardships.
In drowning incidents, injury victims are submerged underwater. While underwater, they do not get oxygen to their brain because they cannot breathe. When the brain goes too long without oxygen it cannot function. A lack of brain function means that other organs in the body will fail. This is why so many drowning incidents result in death.
But even when someone is rescued before they die, the lack of oxygen to the brain can cause serious and permanent brain damage. The longer the brain goes without oxygen, the more severe the brain damage is likely to be.
The brain damage that a drowning victim suffers may be similar to severe traumatic brain injuries suffered in other accidents. These include serious situations like being in a coma or vegetative state and spending time in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Even injuries that seem less serious can have life-altering effects because they impair physical and cognitive functions. These injuries and impairments include:
- Memory loss
- Changes in vision or hearing
- Other sensory impairments
- Sleep problems
- Slurred speech
- Trouble finding words
- Other difficulties with speech
- Emotional changes
- Depression and other mental health challenges
- Behavioral issues
- Impaired information processing
- Developmental impairments in children
Some drowning victims are unable to return to the lives they once lived because of their injuries or impairments. For example, they may not be able to return to their prior work or school. This can mean their futures look very different than they did before the drowning incident. In fact, after a drowning incident, an injured person may need physical or mental assistance for the remainder of their life.
Because the extent of injuries may not be known at first, it is important to speak with an experienced drowning accident lawyer. A drowning lawyer will be able to help you assess how much compensation you may be entitled to receive based on the seriousness of your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Drowning Accidents
Q: Who is liable if someone drowns in your pool?
A: The owner of a private pool can be liable to injury victims for many kinds of aquatic accidents including drowning death, drowning injuries, and diving accidents. The homeowner can be liable when they are present if negligent supervision leads to the injury. For example, if a homeowner knows that a child cannot swim yet fails to monitor the child in or near the pool, that might constitute negligent supervision.
The owner of a private pool can also be liable to injured victims even when they are not present. Under premises liability, property owners can be liable for any injuries to a person that occurred on their property.
Because of premises liability, it is important for the owner of the pool to make sure it is not accessible to strangers or neighbors, for example, by having a fence.
Q: Who is most at risk for a drowning accident in Pennsylvania?
A: According to the CDC, there are certain factors that make drowning more likely:
- Not being able to swim: Not many children or adults know how to swim or admit that they’re weaker swimmers.
- Missing fences around water: Pool fencing can easily prevent wandering children from gaining access to the pool.
- Lack of supervision: A drowning can happen very quickly, even in a small amount of water.
- Location: Drowning does not always occur in a swimming pool. According to the CDC, two-thirds of all infant drownings occur in the bathtub.
- Risky behaviors: Drinking alcohol, not wearing life jackets, and using drugs can all lead to unintentional drownings.
Q: What is an attractive nuisance?
A: The attractive nuisance doctrine states that a property owner can be held liable for any personal injury to a person on the property if the injury was caused by something that was likely to attract the person. Attractive nuisance applies to hold a property owner liable even if the person is trespassing on the property.
As you can imagine, swimming pools are an example of an attractive nuisance. If the property owner failed to keep the property safe, they could be held responsible for any drowning injuries or drowning deaths.
Q: How can I prove an individual is responsible for a drowning accident?
A: As with any personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove the following in order for a successful claim:
- The individual or company had a responsibility to keep you from harm.
- The individual breached that duty of care.
- Since the individual breached the duty, an injury occurred.
- The injury resulted in damages.
For example, you’re at a public pool. The lifeguard on duty is not paying attention to what’s going on in the pool. Your friend begins to have trouble swimming and begins to struggle in the water. They began to drown but the lifeguard does not notice. Your friend drowns and dies.
Since the lifeguard was not paying attention, they breached the duty of care. As a result, your friend dies, resulting in medical expenses and funeral costs.
Q: I lost a loved one in a drowning accident. Can I file a lawsuit on their behalf?
A: Yes. If you lost a family member in a drowning accident, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation on your loved one’s behalf. You will also be able to receive compensation for any funeral costs.
Q: How long do I have to file a drowning accident lawsuit?
A: In the state of Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. But remember, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove your claim. That’s why it’s best to contact a drowning accident attorney at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys right away to learn your legal options and get your claim started right away.
Q: How much is my drowning accident case worth?
A: If a drowning lawyer or law firm gives you a dollar value for your case right away, don’t trust it. They are likely making unrealistic promises, or maybe persuading you to settle for less than your case is actually worth in order to settle it quickly.
It is impossible to know what kind of settlement to expect before investigating the extent of any injuries sustained, medical costs, lost wages, future expenses, and pain and suffering.
This is why it is important that you hire a drowning accident attorney who will complete a thorough investigation and who will never advise you to accept a settlement for less than you truly deserve. Each case is unique, so the best way to learn about what compensation you may be entitled to is to speak with an attorney at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for free.
Q. How much does it cost to hire a drowning accident lawyer?
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you pay nothing unless we win your case for you. That means you may have no fees or costs out of pocket. We work for our clients on a contingent fee basis. This means that we only charge a fee if we win your case. In other words, our getting paid is “contingent” upon our success.
The fee is a percentage of the total amount of the settlement or verdict we obtain for you. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, that fee will never be greater than the sum paid to you. We pay all upfront costs so that you never have to pay anything out of your own pocket. If for some reason we can’t get you the compensation you need, you owe us nothing.
Q: Should I accept a settlement from the pool owner’s insurance company?
A: Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company before consulting with an experienced lawyer. Unfortunately, the settlement offered by an insurance company is usually a fraction of what you would receive with the help of a lawyer.
And, in most cases, if you accept an offer of settlement, you waive your right to seek additional compensation, even if the settlement proves to be insufficient. For this reason, it is important that you consult a lawyer first. Don’t let the insurance company pressure you into accepting an offer before you’re ready.
Q: How do I know if I need a personal injury lawyer?
As the injured victim, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party to obtain maximum compensation for your injury. Unfortunately, you will likely face legal hurdles without a lawyer on your side. Many victims of drowning accidents never get the total compensation they are entitled to when handling the claim on their own.
The legal process can be confusing, and insurance companies profit by settling for as little as possible. As an injury victim, you may be concerned about paying your current medical bills, especially if you’re missing a lot of time from work. So a quick settlement from the insurance company can solve that problem instantly. But what about any future expenses? Will that settlement cover lost earning potential?
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, an experienced and knowledgeable accident attorney will ensure that you receive compensation for both present and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What Makes Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Different From Other Personal Injury Law Firms?
At Munley Law, our personal injury lawyers each have decades of experience in personal injury law – including experience trying cases in front of a jury. While many injury lawyers have never been to trial, we have brought numerous cases to verdict and are always prepared to take your case to trial if the liable party won’t agree to a settlement that provides you with the compensation you deserve.
We have won dozens of multimillion-dollar results for our clients. Plus, we invest the resources necessary to build a winning case for you. That means we work with world-class investigators, experts, medical professionals, technologists, and more. We invest in you.
Our main geographical focus is in Pennsylvania, but we serve clients all over the United States.
Contact a Drowning Accident Attorney Today.
The legal aftermath of a drowning accident, especiallly if it causes serious life-long injuries or a death in the family, is not something you should ever have to navigate alone. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we will answer your questions, help you fill out any paperwork, and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
We will not collect a fee unless we recover benefits for you. You will not owe us anything upfront or out of pocket. And, our initial consultation is absolutely free. So, you risk nothing by contacting us to speak with a lawyer about your unique situation.