During the summer months in New Jersey, people frequently take advantage of the many watersports available. With access to rivers, lakes, and shorelines, watersports are a mainstay for NJ residents. Unfortunately, these activities come with the risk of drowning, and there are thousands of drowning and near-drowning incidents every year.
Drowning accidents are among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
These accidents are devastating to remaining family members. At The Reinartz Law Firm, we represent families who have experienced the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of others. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation and seek to hold all negligent parties responsible.
We invite you to a free consultation and there is no fee involved unless we win your case.
Drowning and "Near" Drowning
While most drowning incidents result in death, even near-drowning events can cause significant injury. Victims of these events can often be left in varying degrees of mental or cognitive deficit due to traumatic brain injury, or suffer respiratory impairment that can be permanent.
Common Causes of Drowning
Drowning deaths are often preventable. When people swim in public and private pools, the property owners are responsible for keeping their pools safe from hazards. Not all drowning-related incidents are the fault of property owners, but when they fail to follow safety rules and are negligent in keeping their swimming pools reasonably safe, they may be liable for damages.
Some common reasons for drowning-related injuries include:
- Lack of swimming ability - The majority of drownings occur due to a lack of swimming skill or safety knowledge. This can often be attributed to a lack of supervision.
- Lack of pool barriers - Barriers with a locked fence have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by over 80%. If a drowning accident occurs and the property owner has failed to properly secure their pool, they may be held liable.
- Lack of supervision - Lack of supervision, especially when children are present, is also a leading cause of drowning-related accidents.
- Failure to Wear Life Jackets - Over 85% of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets or other floatation devices.
- Alcohol/Intoxication - Many drownings occur when alcohol or drugs are involved.
There are many other potential causes of drowning accidents, such as defective or improperly maintained safety equipment, boating accidents (link), and more.
Can I File a Lawsuit For a Drowning?
Most personal injury lawsuits are concerned with the alleged negligence of another person or entity. In order to file a lawsuit against a person or business, you will need to demonstrate that the individual or entity acted irresponsibly and their negligence was at least partially responsible for the accident or injury.
Here are some additional scenarios and causes of drowning accidents that may be compensable in court:
- Defective drains or filters can cause suction
- Distracted or improperly trained lifeguards
- Poor markings of shallow or deep sections
- Failure to secure the swimming area
- Slick surfaces
There are many ways in which negligence can play a part in a drowning accident. Speaking with a lawyer about the nature of the accident can help you understand if there might be a case.