Swimming is great fun and great exercise, but it comes with the very serious risks associated with drowning. In the state of Washington, there are numerous bodies of water to enjoy during the warmer months, each of which carries the risk of drowning. Even more common is the risk of drowning in a pool, whether in a public pool or in someone's backyard.

There are nearly 3,500 fatal drownings every year, which equates to about 10 per day. Sadly, the highest risk is to young children.

As the result of a drowning, serious injury or death may result. The drowning victim or the family left behind will likely suffer both physical and psychological injury. When that injury is the fault of someone else's negligence, you can be compensated for your injuries.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drowning, experienced Washington personal injury attorney Quinn Posner of Quinn Posner Law Office, P.C. has the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain the financial compensation you deserve.

Drowning Injuries

A lot of different injuries may result from a partial or total drowning. It is possible to drown, but survive, especially if the victim was resuscitated. As a result, permanent injury can occur.

  • Brain Damage: Drowning results in deprivation of oxygen to the brain. The longer the brain is without oxygen, the more severe the damage will be. Drowning can result in permanent brain damage, resulting in physical limitations and cognitive deficiencies.
  • Secondary Drowning: While rare, secondary drowning is the result of a small amount of water remaining in the lungs of a near-drowning victim. The water left in the lung can cause pulmonary edema, a serious medical condition which can cause the lungs to fill with fluid.
  • Death: The worst "injury" of all is the loss of life from drowning. The loss of a child or loved one has a devastating effect on the lives of the survivors. If the victim's death is another person's fault, you may be able to file a wrongful death action to obtain financial compensation.

A skilled attorney can work with you, your doctors, and your medical records to present your case.

Swimming Pools: The Risk of Injury & Death

There are numerous risks associated with swimming pools, and in many cases those risks are the result of another person's negligence or other wrongful act. The following are common risks and wrongful acts associated with swimming pool drownings.

  • Failure to Supervise: If a lifeguard is on duty, they must be properly trained and adequately monitor the pool for safety issues and active drowning situations.
  • Failure to Warn Swimmers: If a lifeguard is not on duty, there must be a clear warning to swimmers that they swim at their own risk. Signs or other markings should also indicate the depth of the pool at various points to warn those who cannot swim or where it is unsafe to dive.
  • Failure to Maintain the Pool: Owners of swimming pools have a duty to maintain their pool in a way that is safe for those swimming in it. This includes ladders, diving boards, and even clean water that will not cause infection.
  • Defective Equipment: If the equipment of the pool is defective, it can cause serious injury or even drowning death. As a result, you may be able to file a defective products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective equipment.

These are not the only risks associated with swimming pools, and the same risks may apply to other bodies of water such as ponds or lakes. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drowning due to another's negligence, a highly experienced Washington personal injury attorney can fight for you.

Causes of Action & Statute of Limitations

Depending on the facts of your case, different causes of action may apply to your situation.

Personal Injury

personal injury lawsuit alleges that you suffered an injury to yourself; physically, psychologically, or both. The lawsuit also alleges that that injury is another person's fault. You must present proof of your injuries, as well as the duty that the defendant breached which caused those injuries.

Personal injury lawsuits have a three-year statute of limitations in most cases. The three-year period typically begins on the date the injury was caused. In certain cases, the three-year period can instead begin when you first discover the injury, as not all injuries are immediately apparent.

Premises Liability

People are responsible for the hazards, including pools, which exist on their land. The type and level of responsibility depends on whether the person on the property is an

  • Invitee,
  • Licensee, or
  • Trespasser.

Premises liability cases are also subject to a three-year statute of limitations period.

Wrongful Death

When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, that victim's family members can file a lawsuit for damages. Only certain individuals can file a wrongful death claim in Washington:

  • Spouse,
  • Domestic partner, or
  • Child or children (including stepchildren).

If none of the above exist, then the parents or siblings of the victim can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations beginning at the time of the victim's death.

Damages in Drowning Cases

With the help of an experienced Washington attorney, you can obtain financial compensation in the form of:

  • Medical bills,
  • Future medical bills,
  • Property damage,
  • Loss of income and loss of future earning capacity,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Loss of enjoyment,
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Mental anguish, and
  • Disfigurement.

Consult a Washington Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drowning and suffered injuries, you need an experienced attorney who understands the personal injury process and how to deal with the complex law surrounding personal injury and wrongful death cases. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.

Experienced personal injury attorney Quinn Posner represents clients in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, and the rest of Clark County. Contact Quinn Posner today to schedule a free consultation.