Articles Tagged with drowning accidents

With summertime rapidly approaching, hot sunny days cannot be far behind. Few things go better with a hot summer day than a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. While refreshing, however, that dip in the pool is not risk free, as accidents in and around swimming pools result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Young children are particularly at risk, especially those too young to know how to swim. Summer is a time for having fun in and around water, but be sure to exercise necessary cautions.

Pool-Related Injuries and Deaths Happen Frequently

When discussing swimming pool accidents, drownings often are among the first topics raised, and might even be the only topic discussed. Drownings and near-drownings, which are not fatal but can result in severe injuries, are the cause of thousands of deaths and injuries every year. From 2005 through 2014, 3,536 people on average drowned every year. Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. each year. There were more than 3,700 people who died from drowning across the country in 2016. While those drownings took place in all bodies of water, many of those drownings, fatal and non-fatal, occur in swimming pools. Children younger than the age of 15 account for a significant number of those drownings and near-drownings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day in the United States due to “unintentional drowning.” Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are especially at risk. Among this age group, drowning is the leading cause of death aside from congenital birth defects.

Frazier v. Godley Park Homeowners Association, Inc.

Most child drowning deaths occur in residential swimming pools. In some cases, the pool owner’s negligence may be the proximate cause of the child’s death. You should not assume that just because a child suffers a fatal or non-fatal drowning, the owner is automatically liable. To the contrary, under Georgia law, a swimming pool owner “is not an insurer of its safety.”

When you visit a public pool or are invited to use a private pool, the operator assumes a certain duty to “exercise ordinary and reasonable care for the safety” of you and any other guests. This means, for instance, if someone drowns in the pool due to improper maintenance or a lack of safety equipment, the pool operator may be legally liable. But what happens when someone drowns in a public body of water such as an ocean?

Downes v. Oglethorpe University, Inc.

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently addressed this question in the context of a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim was a college student who died while participating in a study abroad program. The parents sued the school, alleging its negligence led to their son drowning in the Pacific Ocean.

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