If you have lost a loved one in an accident that could have been prevented if not for another party's negligence, a drowning accident lawyer at Charpentier Law Firm in Melbourne, FL, can help you pursue justice, and help you recover compensation to which you may be entitled.
Understanding the Risk
According to the Center for Disease and Control, around 10 people die every day from unintentional drownings in the US. Of this number, nearly 20 percent are 14 years old or younger. In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death for children younger than four years old. Due to the lack of oxygen in a drowning accident, victims who survive may be left with serious brain injuries that cause long-term disabilities.
Given how common drowning is, you may expect that property owners or businesses will take reasonable measures to protect your safety near bodies of water. According to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, Floridian homeowners with a pool on their property are expected to meet a minimum number of safety standards or face legal repercussions. But accidents still happen.
What Are the Common Causes of Drowning?
A person can potentially drown in any place where there is water: a waterpark, a small pond, or even a bathtub. However, drowning accidents most often occur in public and private pools, lakes, beaches, and hotels. In most cases, they are caused by:
- Reckless behavior
- Unsafe or overcrowded water vessels
- Boating accidents
- Lack of maintenance or proper equipment
- Faulty equipment
- Influence of alcohol or other drugs
Who is Responsible?
If a person physically holds another person underwater, it may be simple to legally establish that person’s responsibility for the accident. However, determining liability is rarely so straightforward. Determining fault for a drowning accident depends on how and where it happened. It will also determine the type of lawsuit you will need to pursue:
- Negligence: This is defined as the failure of a person to be as careful as they should have been. It covers a wide range of behaviors, including failing to keep the premises safe, hiring unqualified individuals as lifeguards, or operating a water vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any person whose negligence directly led to another person drowning can be held responsible for the accident.
A property owner who has failed to maintain pool equipment or provide adequate supervision is considered liable for any injuries that result.
- Premises liability: This type of suit holds property owners or tenants responsible for any drowning injuries caused by hazardous but preventable conditions on the premises. A property owner who has failed to maintain pool equipment or provide adequate supervision is considered liable for any injuries that result.
- Product liability: If faulty equipment, rather than poor maintenance, is responsible for a drowning accident, then liability may fall on any person or business involved in its production. Depending on the cause of the error, it may be the designer, manufacturer, or distributor who is ultimately responsible. Examples of faulty products include poorly designed pool drains or boat engines that do not meet safety standards.
The most appropriate type of lawsuit in a case of drowning can be hard to determine on your own. Our attorneys can examine your case and determine which route is best suited to your case.
While there are no caps on how much compensation a victim or family member can receive in a drowning accident case, the amount can vary significantly from case to case. When deciding on a fair amount, juries and judges typically consider both economic and subjective factors, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages (current and future)
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
Contact Us Today
The legal team at Charpentier Law Firm has in-depth understanding of laws surrounding drowning as well as its emotional aftermath, and can navigate complicated barriers to ensure that justice is served. Reach out to our practice today to set up an in-person consultation with one of our attorneys, discuss your case, and determine the best approach to claim your rightful compensation.