Los Angeles Drowning Accident Lawyer
Drowning accidents can leave victims and families absolutely devastated. Navigating the aftermath of such an accident can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with legal and financial sides of things. That’s where Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC can help. We focus on drowning cases, seeking maximum compensation and justice for victims. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (888) 848-5084 or reach out online to consult with a skilled drowning accident lawyer regarding your situation.
Below, we explore some key details relating to drowning accidents, highlighting the importance of hiring an experienced drowning accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured, fatally or non-fatally.
The CDC defines drowning as experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid, and it can be either fatal or nonfatal. Fatal drowning leads to death, while nonfatal drowning includes a range of outcomes, from no injuries to severe injuries such as brain damage or permanent disability.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children in the United States, particularly for those between 1 and 4 years old. Drowning is also the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children aged 5–14, with motor vehicle crashes being the first.
Annually, the United States witnesses an estimated 4,000 deadly unintentional drownings. Additionally, there are around 8,000 nonfatal drowning incidents each year, averaging 22 per day. These nonfatal incidents can lead to long-term health problems and often require hospitalization. For instance, for every child under the age of 18 who dies from drowning, seven more require emergency department care for nonfatal drowning. Notably, nearly 40% of drownings treated in emergency departments call for hospitalization or transfer for further care. This rate is significantly higher than the 10% hospitalization rate for all unintentional injuries. Drowning injuries can also result in serious long-term consequences, including brain damage and long-term disability.
Certain groups are at a higher risk of drowning. Children aged 1–4 are most susceptible, with most drownings in this age group occurring in swimming pools. For children aged 1-4, fatal drowning is the leading cause of death, and for those aged 5-14, it’s the second leading cause of unintentional injury death, following motor vehicle accidents. Males represent nearly 80% of drowning victims, possibly due to factors such as increased exposure to water, risk-taking behaviors, and alcohol use.
Regarding racial and ethnic disparities, CDC reports that American Indian or Alaska Native people under 29 years have drowning death rates twice as high as those for White people. For Black people, these rates are 1.5 times higher than for White people. Among Black children aged 5-9 and 10-14, the rates are 2.6 and 3.6 times higher, respectively. In swimming pools, African American children between the ages of 10-14 years are 7.6 times more likely to drown than White children. In natural water settings, American Indian or Alaska Native people have the highest drowning death rates, which are 2.7 times higher than for White people.
People with medical conditions, particularly seizure disorders such as epilepsy, are at an elevated risk of fatal and nonfatal drowning. Drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death for people with seizure disorders, with bathtubs being the most common site of drowning. Other conditions like autism and heart conditions are also associated with a higher risk of drowning.
Why Do Drowning Accidents Occur?
The CDC identifies several factors that make drowning more likely. Many adults and children either can’t swim or are weak swimmers, and formal swimming lessons significantly reduce the risk of drowning. Proper pool fencing can prevent young children from gaining unsupervised access to pools. Lack of close supervision is a significant risk factor, as drowning can happen quickly and quietly in various water bodies, including lakes, oceans, pools, bathtubs, and even buckets of water. The location of drowning varies by age: infants under 1-year-old mostly drown in bathtubs, children aged 1–4 predominantly drown in home swimming pools, and about 40% of drownings among children aged 5-14 occur in natural water. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among people aged 15 and older occur in natural waters.
Additionally, among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is a significant contributing factor, involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, nearly 25% of emergency department visits for drowning, and about 20% of reported boating deaths. Alcohol impairs balance, coordination, and judgment, and increases risk-taking behavior. Certain medications can also increase the risk of drowning, especially psychotropic medications prescribed for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other conditions. These medications can have side effects similar to alcohol, such as decreased motor skills and difficulty thinking clearly. Other prescription medications and drugs may also increase the risk of drowning.
Common Locations For Drowning Accidents In Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, drowning accidents can occur in a variety of settings, each with its own risks and challenges. One prominent location is public swimming pools. These are found in community centers, schools, and parks throughout Los Angeles. Despite being supervised, accidents can still occur due to overcrowding or inadequate lifeguard coverage. Another common site is “private residential pools.” Los Angeles, known for its warm climate, has many homes with private pools. Accidents here often involve young children and can occur during social gatherings or when pool areas are unsupervised.
The city’s proximity to the ocean makes beaches another significant location for drowning accidents. Popular beaches like Venice Beach and Santa Monica attract large crowds, increasing the risk of swimming-related accidents, especially when swimmers are unaware of rip currents or venture too far from the shore. Lakes and rivers in the Los Angeles area also pose risks. Places like Echo Park Lake and the Los Angeles River have areas where swimming is not recommended, yet people often ignore these warnings, leading to potential drownings.
Finally, water parks and recreational centers in Los Angeles, which offer various water-based activities, are sites where drownings can occur. Although these facilities typically have trained lifeguards and safety measures in place, the risk remains, especially during peak times when the facilities are crowded. It’s important for visitors to these locations to follow safety guidelines and remain vigilant, especially when children are involved.
Liability In Drowning Accidents
Identifying who is at fault in a drowning accident is a critical concern of any legal action that follows. The liability can fall on various parties, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. In the case of public pools or recreational facilities, an entity operating the facility could be held responsible. This might be due to inadequate safety measures, such as insufficient lifeguard presence or poorly maintained facilities. In situations involving private residential pools, a homeowner may be liable, particularly if they failed to secure the pool area or did not provide adequate supervision during pool use.
In natural settings like beaches or lakes, the responsibility might lie with the local government or an authority managing the area. They could be held liable for not properly warning the public about potential dangers or for not ensuring that the area is safe for swimmers. In boating accidents, a boat operator or owner can be held liable, especially if negligence or disregard for safety regulations contributed to the accident. Additionally, manufacturers of pool equipment or safety gear could be responsible if their product fails and leads to a drowning incident.
Wrongful Death In Drowning Accidents
When a drowning accident tragically results in death, it may lead to grounds upon which surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. In these cases, the family of the deceased can seek compensation for their loss. The liable parties, as discussed earlier, could be individuals, companies, or government entities.
In a wrongful death claim, the focus is on proving that the death was a result of negligence or a deliberate wrongful act. The family may seek damages for a variety of reasons, including loss of companionship, emotional distress, lost income or support from the deceased, and funeral and burial expenses. It’s important to understand that wrongful death claims are complex and involve various legal considerations, making the guidance of an experienced drowning accident attorney important.
Lawsuits And Insurance Claims Following Drowning Accidents
When pursuing legal action after a drowning accident, whether it’s a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim, the process typically involves either a lawsuit or an insurance claim. A lawsuit might be necessary if the responsible party or their insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. In this case, the matter is taken to court, where a judge or jury can decide on the compensation. On the other hand, an insurance claim is often the first step, involving negotiations with an insurance company of the liable party. This could be a homeowner’s insurance policy, business liability insurance, or even a government entity’s insurance provider in case of accidents in public spaces.
However, dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. They often aim to minimize payouts to surviving victims, and their initial offers may not fully cover the victim’s damages or the family’s losses in wrongful death cases. Therefore, seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement is vital. An experienced attorney can negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence, and build a strong case to better ensure that the victims or their families receive the compensation they deserve. This compensation may be necessary to cover medical expenses, ongoing care needs, lost wages, and other financial burdens resulting from the accident. In wrongful death cases, it can also help to minimize the financial impact of losing a loved one.
Los Angeles Drowning Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a drowning accident, it is time to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC drowning accident lawyers are here to help. With our experience, we will confidently assist you through the legal process, fighting for your rights every step of the way. Contact us at (888) 848-5084 or online to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable drowning accident lawyer to clarify your legal options and next steps.