Understanding Drowning Accidents and Legal Representation in Arizona
Phoenix ranks number one in the United States in residential pool ownership, and individuals living close to water or with access to pools are statistically far more likely to face an injury or even death from drowning.
According to reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning remains the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4. Couple that with the knowledge that drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 5 to 14-years-old. Statistics show than an average of 367 children under the age of 15 drown each year. So with that knowledge, it’s understandanle that Arizona has put strict regulations in place for pool owners and operators.
Relatedly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, for every child who drowns, another four children will require emergency medical treatment for near-drowning injuries. These nonfatal drowning accidents can have lifelong effects of their own, such as brain damage or other long-term disabilities.
These sobering statistics merely quantify what we all inherently know: while there is fun to be had around sources of water, the situation is full of opportunity for injury and even loss of life. The laws in Arizona are written with your protection in mind. Frequently, drowning occurs because a pool is unattended and, as a result, someone, particularly toddlers or young children, can enter the water without notice or consent. Many times, negligence related to unsafe facilities, lack of appropriate staffing, lack of training, and more also comes into play.
If you or someone you love has recently had an accident in a pool, amusement park, or spa, you are not alone. You deserve legal representation and compensation for the damages and suffering you have endured because of this accident. Local, experienced law firms like Escamilla Law Group are available to guide you with our legal knowledge and processes in place to handle your claim quickly and compassionately. An initial consultation with one of our legal professionals will help you understand your rights, the legal process, and potential compensation.
Who Does the Law Hold Legally Liable for Drowning Accidents in Arizona?
As with premises liability, there are three categories or classes that are protected under Arizona law. Both residential and commercial pool owners, as well as water park operators, have legal responsibilities and liabilities for the safety and wellbeing of each of these groups.
- Invitees – These are individuals who enter a property, typically a business, with a business purpose. This covers public pool and water park visitors. Owners are required to maintain and repair the pool, ensuring it is safe for visitors.
- Licensees – This typically applies to private homes where guests are invited to the property for a social function or gathering. If there are safety concerns or hazards that are not readily apparent to guests, pool owners must ensure guests are aware of these issues. In some instances, if the pool owners have had prior knowledge of damage but have not made progress toward fixing it, injured parties also have legal protection through premises liability.
- Trespasser – In most cases, someone trespassing has fewer rights than someone who is an invited guest on the property. For example, if someone was attempting to break into a home but drowned after falling into your unfenced pool, it is unlikely that the property owner would be liable for the accident. However, as it relates to trespassing, special consideration is made if that trespasser is a child. This is called the attractive nuisance doctrine. A child may be enticed or wander onto a property by seeing a pool, diving board, or waterslide. If the property owner has not placed barriers or fencing around the pool and the child falls in and is injured, the property owner is likely to be held liable.
What to Do After You or Someone You Loved Drowns in Arizona?
Medical care is the most obvious and immediate need after a drowning or near drowning. Evidence can be quickly lost in all personal injury accidents, but particularly in water and pool-related instances, the shock of the situation understandably overshadows the event, and at a time when critical information can be captured, the opportunity is lost.
Obtaining legal advice is a strategic move because not only do experienced professionals like the lawyers at Escamilla Law Group walk you through the process and handle many of the more challenging tasks, but seeking this advice frees you to support your loved one or to focus on recovery.
After someone has drowned, our attorneys work to gather the following information for our clients in the event that they are unable to do so on their own:
- Photographs of the pool
- Statements from all who were present
- 911 call
- Ambulance records
- Police Reports
- Media clips
- Medical records and/or autopsy results if performed.
What Damages Can A Drowning Victim Be Compensated For in Arizona?
Each and every claim is unique and has many variables, making estimating compensation something that legal professionals are particularly skilled at supporting you with. The best way to determine the compensation range is to meet with our lawyers to review the particular details of your claim. In understanding many of these details, we can better assist you in determining the likely range of compensation you should ask for. Our team will represent you through the settlement and throughout the trial, should that be necessary, to get you the most fair and fullest compensation allowed under the laws of Arizona.
Factors to consider within your claim include the following:
- Current and future medical bills
- Costs of continuing cognitive and physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- In-home care durable medical equipment (such as hospital beds, oxygen, etc.)
- Household and vehicle modifications, if needed
- Private or nursing home care
- Lost wages for the victim or those who have had to leave work to care for the victim
- Hedonic damages for the loss of joy of life
- Punitive damages
There is great benefit in working with a personal injury attorney from Escamilla Law Group who has experience in drowning accidents. Call the attorneys at Escamilla Law Group today to speak with a skilled and compassionate drowning accident attorney and find out what your rights are.
Why Are Drowning Accidents So Common?
There are many reasons drowning incidents occur. The common themes below outline just a few of the issues underlying drowning accidents, many of which entitle the victims to representation and compensation.
- Overcrowding: In the height of summer, public and community pools can be highly crowded meaning that the risk is much higher for injury especially for children. The chaos of the scene can mean that parents or lifeguards are distracted and less likely to notice if children wander.
- Lack of training: While there are many requirements made of lifeguards, including CPR and certification, the data shows that it may not be enough. With many individuals to monitor, coupled with the monotony of the job, lifeguards are at risk of being critically distracted during the few moments someone is at risk.
- Poor facility maintenance: Should a pool not be properly maintained, swimmers are put at great risk. For example, some the drains have caused a vacuum effect to occur which can trap the swimmer against the drain. Meanwhile broken tiles, ladders, filters, or diving boards can contribute to a range of other injuries around the pool.
- Absence of (or Broken) Fencing: To protect citizens, most states, including Arizona, have laws that require pool owners to fence in their swimming pools. Children are excited by water and love the opportunity to explore it; keeping a pool closed off goes a very long way in ensuring that everyone, from family members to invited guests to well-intended trespassers, remains safe.
- Not Wearing Life Jackets: When it comes to water sports, the number-one safety precaution individuals can take is to ensure everyone onboard is wearing flotation devices. This simple step, both on open water and even for non-swimmers on pool decks, can save innocent lives.
Why Work With A Lawyer From Escamilla Law Group
In the wake of a near-drowning or the traumatic loss of a loved one, it is understandable to be overwhelmed, particularly, if you believe or have evidence that there was wrongdoing in your loved one’s passing. Escamilla Law Group has a reputation throughout Phoenix and Mesa as the best personal injury attorney practice. In fact, we only handle personal injury cases. Our bilingual attorneys understand the stress that these trying times cause our clients. It motivates us to ensure you win your case even more. The core values of our organization were created to serve clients in need, just like you. We do our best – and we do not receive a penny unless you do.
Our initial consultation takes very little of your time. It will help us understand the specifics of your claim, we will explain the next steps and process from there, and we will give you an understanding of what we anticipate the outlook of your case to be. Best of all, you get to meet our lawyers and determine if we are the right fit for you. Click here to schedule.
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