What you need to know about drowning accidents

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swimming pool in new york

Spending time in the water – whether in the pool, at the lake, or on the beach – is a favorite outdoor activity for many families. Nevertheless, despite the fun that your children can have when playing in or around water, there are many risks to be aware of. One of the most serious of these risks is drowning.

Accidents involving drowning are extremely dangerous, causing serious and life-long medical complications or could prove to be fatal. If your child or someone close to you was injured or killed due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek answers and justice. The experienced injury lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. represent those who’ve been injured due to the reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent actions of property owners, managers and other entities who might’ve been responsible for preventing a drowning accident from happening.

Common Causes of Drowning

Although there are many different ways that a drowning accident can occur, some of these accidents are caused by the negligent or irresponsible behavior of others. These cases of drowning can often be the most devastating to your child and to your family, as they almost always could have been prevented.

Negligence can sometimes be difficult to identify, and there are many types of different behaviors which can fall into this category. These actions can be carried out by other people who are in the water, individuals who are in charge of monitoring the pool or other area, or individuals who are in charge of maintaining the area.

Some examples of negligent or reckless behaviors which could cause drowning include:

  • Failure to provide signs indicating pool depth
  • Failure to indicate that no lifeguard is present
  • Providing untrained or irresponsible lifeguards
  • A swimmer’s failure to avoid small children in the water
  • Failure to indicate dangerous water conditions
  • Reckless driving of a water vehicle
  • Reckless actions of passengers on a water vehicle

These actions can be dangerous for anyone in a body of water, but the danger is only increased when children are involved. If a property owner, manager, or another entity failed to inspect, maintain, supervise, or otherwise uphold their duty of care, they can and should be held accountable if someone is hurt or killed.

The Long Term Impact of Drowning Accidents

In the event of a non-fatal drowning accident, many individuals will experience serious health problems, even after they have resumed breathing. Lack of oxygen, even for a short period of time can cause damage to the brain, such as problems with memory, motor coordination, or mental processing. If an individual goes without oxygen for a long period of time, they could also experience seizures or a coma.

Additionally, inhaling water, which happens frequently when drowning victims attempt to gasp for air, can have negative health impacts on the lungs and may lead to pneumonia. Even if your child was fortunate enough to survive a drowning accident, they might still suffer serious ill-effects due to the non-fatal drowning.

Ways to Prevent Drowning Accidents

Accidental drowning deaths are tragically common. CDC data states that for children aged 1-4, drowning is the second most common form of death, with most of those drownings occurring in swimming pools. While young children are the highest risk group, CDC statistics also show that accidental drownings are common in general, regardless of age. There are an average of 3,960 drowning-related deaths in the U.S. every year, or about 11 drownings per day. 

Some of the ways that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from accidental drowning include:

  • Supervise, supervise, supervise – If you own a private pool, always be diligent about keeping watch, particularly paying attention to when your children are in or near the water. If multiple adults are present, adults can rotate in and out as the designated watcher, so that children never go unsupervised. Public pool owners have an obligation to provide lifeguards with proper training to help keep public pool-goers safe. 
  • Install a barrier – For personal pools, ensure that there is a fence or wall around the edge of the pool that prevents your children from getting inside without you noticing. This barrier should be at least four feet tall and should be transparent, so as not to obscure your view of the pool from inside. When the pool is not being used, this barrier can ensure that your children can’t access the pool. Some people also cover their pools and hot tubs when they are not in use. It’s also a good idea to use a floating pool alarm. This type of alarm notifies you anytime someone jumps into the pool. When pool owners don’t take these precautions, terrible accidents can occur. 
  • Keep emergency equipment around – If you own a private swimming pool, it’s a good idea to have emergency equipment on hand such as flotation devices, poles, shepherd’s crooks and ropes. This safety equipment could save a drowning person’s life. Public pools also have a responsibility to provide these safety features to prevent drowning accidents from occurring. 
  • Don’t drink near water – Never drink when you are near a pool or any other body of water. Alcohol impairs judgment, which may cause you to take risks you wouldn’t take if you weren’t drinking. The same principles of drunk driving apply to driving a water vehicle. Drinking can severely inhibit your ability to drive a water vehicle such as a jet ski and can cause accidents with both other water vehicles and swimmers. 
  • Get cardiopulmonary resuscitation training – CPR can save a person’s life. Every adult should get CPR training, especially adults who own pools. Lifeguards at public pools must have CPR training and must have CPR, First Aid, and AED certifications. Lifeguards in New York generally must renew their CPR certification every year. 
  • Learn how to swim – Teaching your children how to swim early on can save lives. Any adult who decides to get in the water should also be familiar with swimming basics. 

Contact a New York Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer

If someone you love has been injured or killed in a drowning accident, contact the New York and Long Island premises liability lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. today. We are committed to helping injured individuals or the families of those who’ve lost their lives get the justice and fair compensation they deserve.

For more than 35 years, our firm has been the one that people turn to in their time of need. We have the right skills and resources necessary to see that justice is served. We represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you won’t owe us anything until we win your case.

Contact us for a no-cost consultation today by calling (855) TOP-FIRM or by reaching out to us online.