Drowning Attorneys in Wilmington
Handling Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Claims
Drowning accidents can happen in all sorts of ways; and may involve different types of personal injury law including wrongful death, premises liability, and even product liability. They can even involve maritime law. This is why you need a North Carolina attorney who knows drowning cases inside and out.
Boat Drowning Liability
Drowning accidents that occur "on" commercial or recreational boats typically fall under admiralty or maritime law. This type of law deals with the reckless or careless operation of a commercial vessel, personal watercraft, no-wake zones, and moorings to buoys. Federal admiralty law is very complicated and winning a lawsuit even more so. Injured parties need to speak to an attorney that has experience filing and winning these types of cases.
Private Pool Liability
Swimming pools exist all over North Carolina, helping people escape the heat and humidity. But swimming pools can be dangerous places. In the worst-case scenarios, people end up drowning in them.
Determining who is liable in these situations depends almost solely on who had control of the pool at the time. If the pool belongs to a neighbor, he could be held liable for not providing a safe environment or not watching the person in the pool closely enough. This is especially true if a child drowned.
Pool owners can also be held liable under the theory of an "attractive nuisance." It does not matter if a child was trespassing when he or she got hurt, since children are not expected to know the risks and are "attracted" to pools. It is the responsibility of the pool owner to make sure that the pool is fully enclosed on all four sides, that there is a gate to enter the pool, and that the gate has a latch that cannot be opened by children.
Public Pool Liability
When the swimming pool is under the supervision of a facility or lifeguard, such as a public pool, the facility and/or the lifeguard may be held liable for drowning accidents. Lifeguards may be held liable if they were negligent - for example, not paying attention, or not doing everything they could to help. But if the lifeguards did try to help and a drowning still occurred, they probably would not be found liable.
A facility and its management may be found liable if they did not provide proper training to the lifeguard, the proper equipment, or if they allowed the pool to fall into disrepair that was dangerous to those swimming in it.
In some swimming pool accidents, the manufacturer of the pool may be found liable if they did not properly design or install the pool. Under product liability law, all manufacturers and people who install products must ensure they are creating a safe environment for anyone who wishes to use their product. If they are negligent in this duty, they may be responsible for providing compensation for resultant injuries.
Drowning and Near-Drowning
When a person has drowned (died), his or her family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. These claims can help the family members recover medical expenses for the deceased, pain and suffering the person endured before death, funeral and burial costs, lost income, loss of the deceased’s services including protection and care, and the loss of companionship, comfort, and guidance from the deceased.
In near-drowning accidents, most of these things can also be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit, including lost income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. However, the family will not be able to file for things like loss of companionship, because the victim is still living and able to provide that. The injured person will have to file the claim himself, unless he is under the age of 18. In these cases, parents may file for children.
Drowning and near-drowning accidents are all too common in North Carolina, and they can be extremely complicated, legally. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact a Wilmington personal injury attorney at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., today at (866) 772-9960. If we can’t get you a settlement, we’ll fight hard in court to get you the most successful verdict possible.
- Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts
- Drowning and Water Related Injuries - NC Department of Health and Human Services
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