Accidental drownings account for thousands of deaths across the country every year, especially among children. In California, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under 5 years of age. Accidental drownings occur most often in private pools, municipal pools, public beaches and public lakes. Circumstances that lead to such tragic events are often complicated and caused by multiple factors. Because of the large number of accidental drownings each year, California has set laws in place that regulate swimming pool safety. When the owner of a pool or public swimming area fails to follow these safety laws, they can be liable for damages when someone is injured or drowns. If you have a loved one who was involved in a drowning accident, you need to call S & S Legal Group immediately. Our experienced drowning accident attorneys will protect your legal rights and strive to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Who Is Responsible In A Drowning Accident?
Determining liability in a drowning accident depends upon the surrounding circumstances. There are three general theories that could apply:
- Premises liability. A property owner is liable for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property that the owner knew about or should have known about. A property owner must take reasonable precautions to make sure that his or her swimming pool is safe for users or anyone else on the property. This may include such things as properly fencing a pool area, putting up warning signs, providing supervision and properly maintaining swimming areas. Premises liability in drowning accidents applies to:
- owners of private, residential swimming pools
- owners of property with private or commercial pools for the benefit of members, guests, or tenants (hotels, campgrounds, health clubs, apartment complexes, etc.)
- owners of government property, such as town, city, county, or state entities which own or control municipal swimming pools, school swimming pools, or swimming areas in lakes or public beaches
- Possessors or renters of property can be liable for damages in an accidental drowning if they failed to take reasonable precautions.
- Negligence. A person may be liable for a drowning accident if they were negligent in causing the accident. Negligence is the failure to do what a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. For example, if a pool owner fails to provide proper supervision for pool users, he or she may be negligent. Another legal theory, called strict liability, provides that a person is automatically negligent if they violate a law. For example if an ordinance requires pool covers, locked gates and fencing surrounding all private pools, and an owner fails to provide such protections, the owner is negligent if a drowning accident occurs.
- Products liability. A manufacturer or seller of a defective swimming pool or related parts or equipment can be held liable if someone is injured by the defective product. For example, if an underwater pool drain is poorly designed where a child can get his or her foot stuck in the drain gate, then the manufacturer may be liable for any injury or drowning.
California Drowning Accident Attorney
An accidental drowning is a traumatic and catastrophic event. If you have lost a loved one in such a tragedy, or if you or a family member has suffered injury in a swimming pool accident, you need the help of an expert. At the S&S Legal Group, our seasoned personal injury and wrongful death attorneys will help you recover damages for your loss. California’s liability laws can be complex, and it is very important for you to retain the services of knowledgeable and experienced injury lawyers. Call S&S Legal Group today for a free case evaluation.