Long Island Swimming Pool and Drowning Accident Attorney

Drownings are some of the most catastrophic and life-changing events that can happen to a family. If you or a family member was involved in a drowning accident, it likely resulted in death or some other catastrophic injury. Most injuries stemming from drowning accidents lead to significant medical expenses, missed time from school or work, and permanent disability. Determining who is responsible for a drowning accident is complicated and requires a drowning accident attorney that knows how to handle drowning accident cases.

The team at Gold & Gold, P.A., understands the complexities of drowning accidents and can help you and your family. Some drowning accidents are due to an owner’s negligence in having improper fencing around the pool. Other drowning accidents occur because of faulty pool equipment or improper/lack of warning signs. We will quickly identify all potential causes of the drowning and find all responsible parties We are ready to secure the justice and financial compensation you deserve to help rebuild your life following a drowning accident.

Who is Responsible for a Drowning Accident?

Not every drowning accident occurs because of someone else’s negligence. Although some drowning accidents cannot be prevented, many occur because of the negligence or carelessness of another person that should be held accountable.

Property owners have a legal duty to ensure their property is safe for use. That includes owners of properties with pools, hot tubs, waterparks, retention ponds, and natural waterways such as lakes, canals, rivers, ponds, and oceans. For instance, an apartment complex with a pool should have a fence around its pool while a waterpark should have adequate lifeguards, among other protections. If a property owner fails to ensure that their property is safe and their failure results in the death or injury of yourself or a loved one, you can sue the property owner for their negligence.

Drowning Accidents in Pools

Pools are perhaps the most common location of drowning accidents in New York but these accidents are also the most preventable. To protect New Yorkers, pool owners are required to surround their pools with a fence or other barrier that meets the following criteria:

  • It must be at least four feet high;
  • It must completely surround the swimming pool and obstruct any access;
  • The space between the ground and the bottom of the fence cannot exceed 2 inches;
  • Any openings within the fence cannot exceed 4 inches;
  • Fence gates must be self-closing and self-latching.

Some towns, counties, and municipalities have their own additional protections as well. Failure to have a pool fence/barrier or a proper pool fence/barrier is negligent and will subject the property owner to a lawsuit.

Other factors that make properties with pools unsafe include:

  • Allowing Improper Use of Pool – many public pools have a bathing capacity and rules for pool use. However, pools are often overcrowded, and the rules are often not enforced. Where there are too many people in a pool at a given time, the safety of everyone is compromised. Likewise, when swimmers are not following the rules, it puts everyone in danger.
  • Improper Training or Inadequate Supervision – many pools have lifeguards on duty to protect against injury and drownings. However, sometimes these lifeguards are not properly trained or there are simply not enough lifeguards for the number of swimmers.
  • Failure to Warn – having a shallow pool where the depth is not apparent leads to many diving accidents. Pool owners have a duty to warn of shallow areas where diving is not allowed.

Nonfatal Drowning or Submersion Incidents

Not all drownings lead to death. In fact, most do not. Nonfatal drownings refer to a situation where a person survives a drowning incident but still experiences significant physiological effects as a result of the lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs. There are approximately 8,000 nonfatal drownings every year in the United States. () That is an average of more than 18 nonfatal drownings every day. The effects of nonfatal drownings can be catastrophic, and often include the following:

  • Brain Damage: Nonfatal drowning can cause brain damage as a result of the lack of oxygen to the brain. Like many brain injuries, this can lead to cognitive deficits, neurological impairment, memory loss, learning disabilities, and seizures.
  • Respiratory Problems: Nonfatal drowning can cause a host of respiratory issues due to swallowing and breathing in water. Common respiratory issues include hypoxia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia, and pulmonary edema.
  • Cardiac Complications: Nonfatal drowning can lead to severe cardiac issues such as cardiac arrest (heart stops beating), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), and hypoxia-induced myocardial damage (damage to the heart muscle).
  • Psychological Issues: Nonfatal drowning can be extremely traumatic and lead to psychological trauma including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, fear, and night terrors.
  • Physical Injury: Nonfatal drownings often result from an accident such as falling and therefore include physical injuries such as broken bones, ligament damage, cuts, and bruises.
  • Significant Medical Costs – many of the injuries above are life-long problems that require lifelong care.

Drowning Accidents Are More Common Than You Think So Be Safe

Warm weather in New York means beaches, lakes and pools are open for the swim season. There are over 7,400 public swimming pools and 1,300 public beaches operated across New York.   While this time of year always brings excitement, it should also give us some pause. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4 and is the second leading cause of accidental death for children ages 5-14 (car accidents is #1).  The CDC reported that there are approximately 4,000 drowning deaths per year with another 8,000 nonfatal drowning injuries each year. Some important steps you take to help prevent drownings include:

  • Know how to swim or wear a proper floatation device such as a life jacket
  • Always supervise children – even if they know how to swim
  • Ensure the pool is closed or unable to be accessed when not in use
  • Learn CPR and have lifesaving equipment at your disposal, including lifebuoys/rings, rescue poles, personal floatation devices (PFDs) and a first aid kit
  • Follow the rules and listen to lifeguards
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs while swimming

Let Our Attorneys Fight for You

Swimming in New York is a great way to beat the summer heat, but when a fun-filled pool day turns tragic, Gold & Gold will fight for you and your family. We will not stop until we get you the compensation you deserve. Our trial attorneys have vast experience in drowning accident cases and are ready to help you and your family heal from a heartbreaking drowning accident. Call our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation and allow us to fight for you while you focus on yourself and your family.