The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller
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Can a drowning give rise to a wrongful death claim?


It's spring in Berks County, and everyone knows that warm weather is right around the corner. As things start to heat up, people will be spending more and more time at pools and beaches. Unfortunately, whenever people spend time near water, drowning is a possibility. Whenever a drowning can be attributed to the negligence of another party, that party may face a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of the victim.

Pools and beaches may offer lifeguards to protect visitors. If a visitor's death can be blamed on the recklessness or negligence of a lifeguard, it may be possible to recover damages for wrongful death. For example, if a lifeguard wasn't properly trained to spot a drowning person, or if they were not properly trained to rescue a drowning person, a court may find the lifeguard, their employer or their trainer to be negligent.

Another danger that may be lurking at a swimming pool is the drain at the bottom of the pool. These drains generate a lot of suction. Older drain covers offer no protection to children, who might be trapped by the suction. Newer drain covers are designed to prevent this from happening, but if the owner or operator of a pool has not upgraded the drain covers, the danger may persist. Depending on the circumstances, the owner or operator could be liable for wrongful death is a child drowns as a result of an older drain cover.

Sometimes drownings involve boats and other watercraft. Again, if the drowning can be attributed to another party's negligence, that party might be liable for wrongful death. For example, if a water skier is hit by another boat and dies as a result, the owner or operator of the other boat may be liable for wrongful death if the fatal boating accident happened because of the owner or operator's negligence.

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