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Law Offices of Fernando Vargas
Law Offices of Fernando Vargas

California Drowning Accident Lawyer

California Drowning Accident LawyerAccording to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 people die every day from unintentional drownings. Of these deaths, 2 are children aged 14 or younger. In fact, the CDC states that in the United States, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of death from unintentional injury.

For every child who dies in a drowning accident, 5 more end up in the emergency room with serious brain injuries that may result in long-term disabilities. In 2013, an estimated 3,800 children under age 5 and 1,100 between 5 and 15 received emergency room care for pool or spa submersion related injuries. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “these figures are a strong indication that child drownings are a serious public health problem. We are losing too many children to drowning, tragically cutting short these young lives and leaving families devastated.”

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or death from a drowning accident, it is important to choose an attorney who thoroughly understands California’s laws and statutes regarding drowning accidents. California Drowning Accident Lawyer Fernando D. Vargas has successfully represented clients who have suffered drowning injuries. Attorney Vargas is an experienced trial lawyer who, since 1987, has effectively litigated thousands of personal injury cases throughout the Inland Empire and the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino with an emphasis in the cities of Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Claremont, Montclair, Upland, Ontario, Chino, Fontana, Riverside, and San Bernardino. The Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas, which is located in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, has recovered millions of dollars in personal injury verdicts and settlements for their clients.

Causes of Drowning Accidents

shutterstock_127988780Causes of Drowning Accidents

Causes of drowning accidents can include:

  1. Swimming pool accidents

  2. Boating accidents

  3. Unsafe or overcrowded water vessels

  4. Bathtub accidents

  5. Floods

  6. Alcohol-related accidents

Whenever a drowning accident occurs, one of the first questions asked is, “Who is responsible?” Placing blame on another party for a drowning accident usually falls into three different categories: negligence/negligence per se (strict liability), premises liability, and product liability.

Negligence/Negligence Per Se (Strict Liability)

Negligence is failing to exercise care that a reasonably prudent (careful) person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. If another party’s negligence contributed to causing the drowning accident, that party may be held liable for the injuries the drowning victim and family sustained. Examples of negligence include:

  • Failure of the property owner to keep the premises safe

  • Failing to keep any and all swimming pool equipment in proper working condition

  • Hiring unqualified personnel as lifeguards

  • Failing to adequately train lifeguards

  • Failing to adequately supervise children playing in or near a swimming pool

  • Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

Negligence per se, or strict liability, involves negligence as a matter of law due to a violation of a federal, state, or local law, statute, or regulation. If a party violates any federal, state, or local law, statute, or regulation and that violation is a contributing cause of the accident, that party may be held strictly liable for any injuries and damages sustained as a result of that violation. For example, all homeowners and landlords must comply with the Swimming Pool Safety Act of the California Health and Safety Code. California Health and Safety Code §115922 requires homeowners and landlords to install at least one of seven drowning prevention safety features to any new or remodeled swimming pools or spas at a private, single-family home. If a homeowner or landlord failed to install any drowning prevention safety feature in violation of this regulation, and that violation contributed to the drowning accident, the homeowner or landlord would be held strictly liable for all injuries resulting from that drowning accident.

Premises Liability

Property owners are responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of a hazardous or dangerous condition on their property that the owner knew or should have known about. If a property owner has a swimming pool on his/her property, the owner has a duty to take reasonable precautions to ensure the swimming pool is safe for its users or anyone else who may come onto his/her property. Under California law, a property owner’s duty of reasonable care extends to anyone entering the property, even if that person is trespassing.

Property owners’ responsibility for maintaining safety is usually centered on inadequate maintenance of the swimming pool and area around the swimming pool or inadequate supervision of its pool users. Such inadequacies could include:

  • Failure to Maintain. A property owner may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if he/she failed to adequately maintain the pool or safety equipment in a reasonably safe condition.

  • Lack of fencing. A property owner may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if a reasonable person would have installed drowning prevention safety features, such as adequate fencing around the pool.

  • Failure to Warn. A property owner has a duty to warn its swimmers of possible dangers and may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if he/she fails to post such warnings (e.g. lack of signs about the swimming pool’s water depth or the lack of a lifeguard, etc.)

  • Failure to Supervise. A property owner may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if he/she fails to adequately supervise guests, especially if the property owner represented he/she would supervise a child. In addition, if a lifeguard is negligent in his/her supervision, the employer and/or property owner may be held liable for any injuries that result from a swimming pool drowning.

  • Lack of proper Safety Equipment. A property owner may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if proper safety equipment is not available. For example, some pools are required to have well-stocked first-aid kits and automatic external defibrillators (AED) available at all times. AEDs are important safety equipment that can shock a drowning victim’s heart back into its normal rhythm, saving the victim precious time while waiting for medical personnel to arrive.

  • Defective Equipment. A property owner may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if the pool or equipment surrounding the pool is defective. (For example, if a ladder to a high diving board is defective, causing the victim to fall and drown.)

Under the theory of premises liability, the following people may be liable for injuries sustained in a swimming pool drowning:

  • Property owners of a private, residential swimming pool or spa

  • Property owners of a private or commercial swimming pool or spa that is used for the benefit of guests or tenants

  • Owners of government property with a swimming pool or spa, such as a municipal swimming pool or school swimming pool

  • Possessors or Operators of the property (e.g., tenants or renters of a home with a swimming pool)


Catastrophic Injuries from Drowning Accidents

shutterstock_141087850Catastrophic Injuries from Drowning Accidents

Drowning accidents can cause permanent, devastating injuries, including catastrophic brain injury, which can leave the victim in a permanent vegetative state. Other serious drowning accident injuries include:

  1. Paralysis (paraplegia or quadriplegia/tetraplegia)

  2. Weakness

  3. Difficulty walking

  4. Problems with balance and/or coordination

  5. Mental incapacitation

  6. Difficulty thinking clearly

  7. Difficulty remembering new information

  8. Slowed thoughts

  9. Difficulty concentrating

  10. Difficulty recognizing people

  11. Confusion

  12. Loss of memory

  13. Personality changes

  14. Inability to speak or difficulty speaking

  15. Loss of hearing

  16. Loss of vision

  17. Loss of sensation or numbness

  18. Physical pain

In addition to permanent and catastrophic medical injuries that can occur from drowning accidents, the cost of treating those injuries can be astronomical. This can cause a tremendous strain on the victim and his/her family physically, emotionally, and financially.


Damages Compensated in Drowning Accident Cases

Damages Compensated in Drowning Accident Cases

Damages in drowning accident cases can be enormous. Families of drowning victims often ask what kind of compensation they can recover for their injuries. A drowning accident attorney can help you receive maximum compensation for the injuries and damages you and your family has suffered, including:

  • Medical bills in the past

  • Medical expenses in the future

  • Rehabilitation

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Lost wages

  • Lost future wages

  • Physical pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish and emotional distress

  • Permanent disability

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Loss of consortium

  • Loss of society and companionship

  • Assistive devices and transportation

  • Modifications to the home

  • Loss of household services

  • Funeral and burial expenses

The Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas works with a team of exceptional and highly qualified expert witnesses, including medical professionals and economists, in order to prove your damages and to help you and your family develop a comprehensive life plan for your future.


What You Should Do After a Drowning Accident

What You Should Do After a Drowning Accident

If a loved one has suffered a drowning accident, there are several things you should do:

  • Call 911 immediately for emergency medical help! Your first priority should always be the health and safety of the victim. If the victim is not breathing, start CPR. The 911 operator will be able to help you through this process.

  • Call the Police Department. Obtain a copy of any police report concerning the drowning accident.

  • Get the name, address, and phone number of every witness of the drowning accident. If possible, interview the witnesses regarding what they saw and/or heard.

  • Take photographs of the accident site, including the swimming pool, the surrounding conditions, any posted signs, fences or gates surrounding the pool, and any related pool equipment (e.g., a faulty diving board, defective drain grate, a broken ladder, etc.) Be sure to also take a photograph of the exact location where the drowning occurred. In addition, take photographs of any injury to the victim. Most cell phones have a built-in camera. If you do not have a camera, ask a witness to take photographs with his/her cell phone and text or email them to you.

  • Preserve all evidence surrounding the drowning accident. If any defective product that may have caused or contributed to the drowning is in someone else’s possession, seek the help of an attorney. Your attorney may be able obtain an order from a judge prohibiting the destruction or correction of any defective product or other evidence.

  • Document all the events of the drowning accident, including the location, date, time, circumstances surrounding the accident, people who were present, and any statements made immediately before, during, and after the event. As time fades, so too will memories. Having a record of the entire event surrounding the drowning accident will be helpful for your case.

  • Keep notes of all conversations you have with the police, witnesses, emergency response personnel, and healthcare providers.

  • Keep records of all medical appointments, treatments received, and medications taken following the drowning accident.

  • Contact a California Drowning Accident Attorney to protect your legal rights. Drowning accidents are extremely traumatic and emotional for the family. Often, complex legal issues arise after a drowning accident, which may be difficult for a grieving family to handle. That is why it is so important to contact an experienced California drowning accident lawyer as soon as possible.

  • Do NOT talk to any insurance company or the other party’s attorney without first speaking with your attorney or having your attorney present.

Drowning accidents are devastating and dramatically affect the quality of life for the victim and his/her family.

 


Free Consultation!

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a drowning accident, the Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas can help. California Drowning Accident Attorney Fernando D. Vargas has the skill, expertise, and experience necessary to successfully litigate your drowning accident case.

In addition, attorney Vargas has a team of experts that will work with him to prove your injuries and damages in order to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. During your free consultation, Mr. Vargas will personally discuss the facts of your case, review the details about your injuries, and advise you about your rights.

Since 1987, California Drowning Accident Lawyer Fernando D. Vargas has successfully litigated thousands of personal injury cases including drowning accident cases throughout the Inland Empire and the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino with an emphasis in the cities of Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Claremont, Montclair, Upland, Ontario, Chino, Fontana, Riverside, and San Bernardino.

No Recovery, No Fee!

Drowning accident cases can be expensive to litigate. However, the Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas, which is located in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, takes all of the firm’s drowning accident cases on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that you will pay nothing up front and Mr. Vargas will advance all money necessary to prepare your case for either settlement or trial. If Mr. Vargas is unsuccessful in resolving your case, you pay absolutely nothing. The Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas, which is fully staffed with bi-lingual personnel that are fluent in Spanish, has successfully championed the rights of personal injury victims by wining millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for their clients since its foundation in 1995.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowning accident, it is vital that you consult with a reputable and experienced California Drowning Accident Trial Lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909 / 982-0707 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. If your injuries prevent you from coming to our Rancho Cucamonga office, we can arrange to visit you at your home or the hospital to ensure the timely investigation of your claim.

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