If you have lost a loved one in a drowning accident on private property, then the property owner may be responsible. However, proving the liability of a property owner will depend on factors such as whether the victim was trespassing or whether they were a child.
A swimming pool drowning accident is an incredibly difficult time for the whole family. When this happens, you need dedicated representation. At Abraham Watkins, we have been serving wrongful death victims in Texas for more than 70 years. We will take over the entire legal process and will fight for the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on being with your family at this difficult time.
We work on a no-win no-fee basis, so you never have to worry about being out of pocket. We also offer a free consultation, so contact us today and speak to an experienced drowning accident lawyer at 713-535-9319.
Drowning Accidents and Liability
Pool owners have a duty of care to people who visit their property. That means that they should remove any potential hazards and any that cannot be removed should be clearly signposted. They should also provide emergency equipment in case any accidents do occur.
If they fail to do any of the above, then they may be held responsible for a drowning accident that occurs on their property.
However, if an adult trespasses onto a pool owner’s property and is injured or killed in a drowning accident, then the pool owner will not be liable. Pool owners do not owe the same duty of care to trespassers as they do to visitors.
However, there is an exception. If a child trespasses onto private property and has a drowning accident; then the pool owner may still be found liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, private pool owners can still be found liable for drowning accidents that occur on their property when someone trespasses, if the trespasser is a child.
This is because the law acknowledges that children may be tempted by a pool and may not have fully understood the dangers.
Pool owners should therefore take steps to prevent children from entering their pool areas, such as having a pool cover and fencing.
How Can a Private Pool Owner Be Held Liable for Drowning Accidents?
Drowning lawsuits and legal claims against home insurance companies are complex. It is not enough for an accident to occur on someone’s property. It is also necessary to show that the pool owner behaved negligently in some way.
In accordance with premises liability laws in Texas, property owners owe a duty of care to visitors to their property, which means that they must protect visitors from unreasonable or preventable harm.
In order to prove negligence, your attorney will help you to establish that:
- Duty of Care – The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care. All property owners owe a duty of care to visitors to their property and to children who may be tempted to trespass.
- Breach of Duty – The at-fault party must have breached their duty of care through some action or inaction. For example, perhaps they failed to lock the fence that granted access to the pool, or they failed to warn visitors of a potential hazard.
- Causation – The breach of duty must have directly caused the accident, i.e., the drowning would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the property owner’s behavior.
- Damages – Damages must have resulted from the accident, such as wrongful death.
Product Liability and Drowning Accidents
If a defective product, such as a pool filter, caused the drowning accident, then the victim’s family may be owed compensation from the manufacturer.
There have been a number of cases of children becoming stuck to a pool drain or pump due to increased suction. When this occurs, it may be due to a defective product. Under product liability laws, it is not always necessary to prove negligence in order to claim compensation.
Who Is Most At Risk For Drowning Accidents?
Shockingly, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. There are many risk factors that can contribute to drowning, including young age, lack of supervision, alcohol, lack of swimming ability, and lack of barriers. Environmental factors such as access to swimming pools can also be important risk factors.
However, even with proper measures in place, drowning accidents can occur. Even if someone is rescued from a near-fatal drowning incident, they may still suffer life-threatening consequences and should seek medical attention right away.
Child Drowning Victims
The statistics around drowning deaths in the United States are devastating. Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death among children under 15, and children between the ages of one and four are most at risk.
The vast majority of child drowning incidents occur in private pools, baths, sinks, and hot tubs. Certain children are particularly at risk, such as those with medical conditions such as epilepsy.
If you have lost a child in a drowning accident, then we know that no amount of money can even begin to heal your grief. However, claiming compensation can ensure that you and your family do not have to suffer financially because of the tragedy that has occurred. At Abraham Watkins, we understand the delicate nature of these cases and will take over the entire legal process on your behalf.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas
If you have lost a loved one in a drowning accident in a private pool, then you may be able to claim compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to claim compensation in a wrongful death claim, your attorney will need to show that:
- The drowning victim died
- The victim died as a result of the defendant’s negligence, intent to harm, or due to a defective product
- The family members are suffering damages as a result, such as financial burden and pain and suffering
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
In Texas, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim for a loved one’s death. Those who are eligible to claim compensation are:
- A surviving child, including a child who was legally adopted by the deceased
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving parents, including adoptive parents
- The personal representative of the estate of the deceased
Criminal Vs. Civil Charges in Texas
It is important to be aware that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim, which means that it does not involve criminal changes. You may be able to claim compensation in a wrongful death claim regardless of the status of any criminal charges that may or may not be brought against the defendant.
The burden of proof for civil cases is much lower. Therefore, even if there is a criminal case against the defendant and charges are dropped, you may still be able to claim compensation from them.
Damages in a Texas Wrongful Death Claim
There are three broad types of damages that you may be able to recover in a wrongful death claim. The first is for the damages that the deceased person may have incurred because of the accident that led to their death, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and funeral and burial expenses.
The second category deals with the damages that the survivors incurred as a result of their loved ones’ death, such as the loss of support and care, loss of income to a family household, loss of inheritance, and loss of comfort and companionship.
The third type of damages that may be available if the case goes to court are exemplary damages or punitive damages. These may only be awarded by a Judge in cases involving gross negligence or a willful act or omission. They are designed to discourage similar behavior in the future or to punish the defendant for their behavior.
Who is Responsible For Drowning Deaths on Private Property? FAQ
What is a drowning accident?
Drowning occurs when someone is submerged in liquid, cutting off oxygen to their brain. This can lead to unconsciousness and death.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Texas?
In Texas, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to make a claim. However, we advise you to act quickly, as the sooner you seek help, the better evidence can be preserved.
Is the property owner liable if someone drowns in their pond?
A property owner must ensure that any bodies of water on their property are safe, including pools, ponds, and hot tubs. Regardless of where the accident occurs, they could still be found liable for an accident that occurs if they are found to be negligent.
Contact Abraham Watkins Today For a Free Consultation
If someone you love has downed in a private pool, then you may be owed compensation. Nothing can begin to heal your grief at this difficult time. However, you should not be left suffering financially because of a tragic accident.
Abraham Watkins is one of the longest-serving law firms in the state of Texas. We understand the care and dedication these cases require and will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation that you and your family deserve.
Arrange a free consultation with a drowning accident lawsuit attorney today by calling 713-535-9319.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today.
If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
Real trial lawyers, real results
Our Record of Success
Chemical Plant Fire