Drowning accidents always bring up difficult questions of liability. Who should be held accountable for medical bills and other costs after someone drowns, or nearly drowns? Defendants in personal injury lawsuits stemming from near-drowning accidents try to argue that the victim should have known about the dangers and should be held responsible for their own apparent inability to swim to safety. Plaintiffs make the argument that the property controller did not do enough to keep them safe.
Which side is in the right? Are either in the wrong? And how does all of this change if the plaintiff suffers a brain injury due to nearly drowning?
Liability in Near-Drowning Accident Cases
Whether or not the defendant can really be held accountable for damages related to a near-drowning incident that caused brain injuries really varies from case to case. Many factors to consider within a case will play a real role in how liability is divided.
Aspects to consider in a near-drowning accident case include:
- Age: Liability in a near-drowning accident can shift more to the property controller, or the defendant, when the victim is considerably young. Children should not be considered capable of fending for themselves in the water, even if the body of water in question is just a shallow pool designed for children.
- Location: Where did the near-drowning accident take place? The location will change the way liability is distributed among parties. For example, a backyard swimming pool is almost certainly the responsibility of the homeowner, but a rocky shoreline is inherently dangerous, and so liability would more likely fall onto the near-drowning victim.
- Precautions: When a body of water is known to be hazardous to a reasonable person, safety precautions must be taken to warn others of the danger. Swimming pools need to have depth indicators, public beaches should have lifeguards, rivers should be netted off to wanderers, and so forth. Failures to create safety precautions can decrease the victim’s liability.
- Injuries: Someone cannot expect to file a successful injury claim unless they have indeed suffered a real injury that caused real damage. In a near-drowning accident that caused brain injury, the fact that harm has occurred should be somewhat clear, but the extent of those injuries may not be. When filing such a claim, work with a trusted injury lawyer who will know how to calculate the final value of your damages, both current and future.
Consider this example of how liability may work in a near-drowning accident: Suzy drops her child, Tim, off at George’s house for a party. Suzy knows that George owns a pool and knows that Tim does not know how to swim. During the party, Tim enters the pool to play, nearly drowns, and is saved by George. Tim is later diagnosed with a brain injury caused by the near-drowning incident. Even though Suzy was aware of the dangers and George saved Tim, George would still most likely be mostly or totally liable for the damages since it was his swimming pool and his party. He should have set up safety barrier to keep children from wandering into the pool, kept several adults near the pool to watch the children, and taken other precautions.
Brain Injury Claim Representation in San Francisco
Have you or someone you love suffered a brain injury due to a near-drowning accident? Treatment costs could be expensive and rehabilitation may be needed for the rest of your life. If there is any chance that a third party might be found liable for your injuries and therefore your damages, you should explore that possibility.
Using our 25+ years of legal experience, Scarlett Law Group can study the details of your case to determine where liability lies and how much compensation you deserve. Contact our San Francisco personal injury attorneys to discover if you have a valid claim to file.