Child drowning accidents can leave families shattered. Even pool or other water-related accidents that don’t result in death can cause severe injuries, such as brain damage. If the accident was the result of negligence, a lawsuit may be filed to recover compensation for damages such as medical bills.
Compensation in Child Drowning Accidents
Compensation may be available to a family who has lost a child in a drowning accident if it can be proven someone else acted in a careless or reckless manner. A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought on behalf of the minor child to recover damages. In these cases, damages may include medical costs prior to death, reasonable funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Generally, when a child dies, his or her parents have the right to bring a lawsuit on the minor's behalf to recover damages. Divorced parents may bring the suit and share in the recovery equally.
Non-fatal pool and water-related injuries caused by negligence may also lead to a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages. It will depend on the extent and severity of the injuries. For instance, brain damage in the most extreme case could cause a child to lose basic functioning. Mild or moderate brain damage may result in learning disabilities and problems with memory.
The cost to treat the injuries, including future medical care and treatment may be addressed in a claim. If a parent was unable to work while taking care of his or her child, lost income may be recoverable.
Establishing Liability for a Child Drowning Accident
To hold someone liable for the accident and recover damages, you will need to prove the person was negligent. For instance, a neighbor who allows your child to come over to play but fails to put up a barrier blocking access to a pool might be at fault. Another example may be a homeowner who allowed children to swim in a pool but did not provide any supervision.
You will need evidence to prove liability. Evidence may include statements from witnesses or physical evidence (a broken lock, the lack of a pool gate, etc.). Photographs of the conditions that may have caused to led to the accident may be used as well.
But you will also need to establish the financial, physical and emotional losses suffered as a result. You can do this through medical records, documentation of the parent’s lost wages and other means of showing the consequences suffered as a result of the drowning accident.
Risk Factors for Drowning Accidents
Certain factors may increase risk of drowning. If a party is aware or should have been aware that certain action or inaction, or other factors, may increase risk of drowning, this may be used to establish liability in the case.
According to the CDC, the age group with the highest risk for drowning is children ages one to four. Meanwhile, it is the second leading cause of unintentional death (motor vehicle accidents are first) for children ages 1 through 14.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that every day in the United States, an average of two children under the age of 15 die from drowning. And for every child that dies, five more suffer non-fatal injuries that require emergency medical attention.
The following are some other risk factors for child drowning accidents:
- impairment (teens);
- don’t know how to swim (or skills are poor);
- failure to prevent access (pool fencing, gates, locks);
- failure to wear a life jacket; and
- improper supervision.
Seeking Help from a Child Injury Attorney in Atlanta
It may be in your best interest to seek legal advice from a child injury attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz in Atlanta. We will carefully review the evidence and information to determine if you have a viable claim.
We can assist with collecting additional documentation that may help in building a strong case. It will be important to talk with an attorney who has handled cases involving child drowning accidents. Call us at 404-474-0804.