Drowning accidents in Texas are shockingly common. In fact, Texas has the third highest number of deaths due to drowning in the United States, and incidents appear to be on the increase, with more people losing their lives in 2020 than any year before.
The main cause of drowning incidents in Texas is a lack of supervision, with the majority of victims being children. Other primary causes include poor swimming skills, alcohol and drug use, medical conditions, hazardous water conditions, inadequate fencing, fatigue, and entrapment.
Many of these causes are entirely preventable, which means that victims or their families may be able to claim compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If you or someone you love has suffered a drowning incident, seeking experienced representation is essential.
At Abraham Watkins, we have been serving the state of Texas for more than 70 years, making us one of the longest-serving law firms in the state. We understand the complexities of the law and have a wealth of resources and skills at our disposal. Utilizing our stellar reputation, we will negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence, investigate your case, and fight for maximum compensation. If necessary, we will take your case to court to secure what you are owed.
We believe that all drowning victims and their families deserve access to high-quality legal representation without an upfront cost. And that is why we work on a no-win no-fee basis. We also offer a free consultation so you can call up and seek some initial advice at no obligation.
Arrange a free consultation with an experienced drowning accident lawyer at 713-535-9319.
The Prevalence of Drowning Incidents
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, there are around 4000 fatal unintentional drownings each year, averaging 11 drowning deaths every single day. There are also about 8000 non-fatal drowning incidents each year, averaging 22 daily nonfatal drowning incidents.
Non-fatal drowning can lead to brain or other organ damage, which can seriously impact a victim’s quality of life and is also known as hypoxic brain injury (brain damage due to lack of oxygen).
Children ages 1-4 are at the highest risk of drowning, and most of these incidents happen in a swimming pool. Drowning accidents often happen when children are not expected to be near water, such as when they gain access to a pool that has improper fencing and is not supervised. Shockingly, fatal drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14.
What Is the Main Cause of Drowning Accidents?
Drowning accidents are a significant concern in Texas, given the state’s numerous water bodies, including lakes, rivers, swimming pools, and the Gulf Coast. With hot weather for a large portion of the year, water-based recreational activities are popular, leading to an increased risk of drowning accidents.
Some of the leading causes of drowning accidents are:
Lack of Supervision
The main cause of drowning accidents in the U.S. is inadequate supervision, particularly for children and weak swimmers. Children are at the highest risk of drowning accidents, and close attention must be paid when they are near any body of water, such as swimming pools or bathtubs.
Drowning can happen quickly and silently; delayed rescue or intervention can increase the risk of injuries and fatalities.
Poor Swimming Skills
Inexperienced swimmers should take great care in near bodies of water. It is essential for swimmers to be aware of their limitations and to take necessary precautions. For example, weak swimmers should wear life jackets when participating in boating activities and should avoid swimming in strong currents.
If you are an inexperienced swimmer, formal swimming lessons are a great way to improve your skills and help prevent drowning incidents.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Alcohol and drug use increases the risk of drowning as these substances impair judgment, coordination and reaction time. According to the CDC around 70% of adult deaths associated with water recreation like boating or swimming involve alcohol, and around 1 in 4 emergency department visits for adults who have suffered drowning.
Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of drowning, such as heart issues, seizures or asthma, especially if someone suffers while they are in the water. According to the CDC, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death for people with seizure disorders, with the bathtub being the site of the highest drowning risk.
Rip Currents and Hazardous Water Conditions
Powerful currents, unexpected changes in water depth, and various other perilous water conditions can take swimmers by surprise, posing significant challenges for them to make their way back to shore. These unforeseen hazards may lead to panic or disorientation in the water, further increasing the risk of drowning accidents.
To mitigate such risks, swimmers need to be aware of their surroundings, understand their limitations, and exercise caution when entering unfamiliar waters.
Inadequate Barriers and Fencing
In the case of pools, improper fencing or lack of barriers can lead to accidents, particularly for young children who may accidentally fall into the water.
In Texas, a swimming pool can be considered an “attractive nuisance” under premises liability law. An attractive nuisance is a potentially dangerous condition or feature on a property that can attract and potentially harm children who may not fully understand the risks involved. Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect children from these hazards, even if the children are trespassing.
Due to these hazards, all pools in Texas must have at least a 4 feet wall made from solid and non-climbable material. Any gaps in the fence should not be big enough to allow a 4-inch square through them. If a child is injured or drowns in a swimming pool that does not have adequate fencing, the property owner may be held liable for the resulting damages.
Fatigue and Exhaustion
Another common cause of drowning is fatigue. Swimmers may become fatigued or exhausted, especially when swimming long distances, which can affect their ability to swim safely or stay afloat. When participating in swimming activities such as boating or swimming pools, it’s important to rest and go in the shade, particularly if you’re tired.
Swimmers can become trapped by pool drains, suction outlets, or underwater structures, making it difficult for them to surface. Children are at particular risk of entrapment from pool drains and pumps as they may not have the strength to pull themselves free.
Entrapment can sometimes be a result of a negligent product manufacturer, who could be liable for a design defect. An attorney can investigate whether a product liability claim is appropriate in your case.
Lack of Proper Safety Equipment
A lack of life jackets, flotation devices, or other safety equipment can increase the risk of drowning, especially in open water or for inexperienced swimmers. All swimming pools, whether private or public, are required to maintain essential safety equipment on-site. This safety equipment includes guardrails, ladders, drain covers, lifebuoys, and long poles to aid swimmers in distress.
Capsizing, falling overboard, or collisions while boating can lead to drowning accidents. Wearing a life jacket while on a boat is one of the most important things you can do to prevent drowning accidents. In 2021 the U.S Coast Guard reported 658 boating-related deaths, and 83% of people were not wearing life jackets.
What Compensation Could I Be Entitled to After a Drowning Accident?
If you or a family member has suffered injuries or a fatality due to drowning, then you could be entitled to compensation. You may be entitled to compensation if someone else’s negligence contributed to the accident. For example, perhaps a pool owner was negligent by not putting fencing up, or a manufacturer was negligent in their pool drain design.
If you are unsure whether you have a claim, call Abraham Watkins for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will assess your case and determine whether we believe you have a valid claim. If you do, then the types of compensation that we can help you seek include:
Non-Fatal drowning accidents can result in hefty medical bills, especially if emergency services are called to the scene. If you have a valid personal injury claim, you should be able to claim these expenses back.
If the accident caused long-lasting injury, such as brain damage, you should also be compensated for your future medical expenses. Your attorney may draw upon expert testimony to determine what your future expenses could look like.
When a drowning victim is seriously injured, time off work is inevitable, which may result in lost wages. A Texas drowning accident lawyer will help you claim compensation for your lost earnings. If your injuries mean that you are unable to return to work in the same capacity, then they could also fight for future loss of income.
While your economic damages, medical expenses, and lost wages have tangible evidence, such as bills and pay stubs, your non-economic damages work differently. Your non-economic damages are your pain and suffering, mental anguish, and permanent disability.
These damages can lower your quality of life and should be properly compensated for. However, they require an experienced drowning accident attorney who can assess your case and gather the appropriate evidence to fight for a fair settlement that truly reflects your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are a distinct category of compensation that can only be granted by a Judge, as opposed to other types of damages that may be agreed upon in a settlement before the case goes to trial. The purpose of punitive damages is to penalize the negligent party in instances of gross negligence.
Compensation For A Wrongful Death Following a Fatal Downing Accident
If you have lost a loved one in a drowning accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your loss. This type of claim differs from criminal charges like murder or manslaughter. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action where you can pursue compensation for an accidental death resulting from another person’s negligence. The burden of proof in civil cases is generally lower than that in criminal cases.
While it may be difficult to think about finances following the loss of a loved one, unanticipated expenses often accompany such tragic events. Wrongful death damages are intended to cover funeral and burial costs and compensate the surviving family members for lost household income, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and other emotional consequences.
However, only specific parties can file wrongful death claims in Texas, and they are the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents. If you do not fall into one of these categories, Texas law prohibits you from filing a claim, regardless of your relationship with the deceased.
At Abraham Watkins, we have worked with many families who have lost loved ones in drowning accidents. We understand the emotional nature of these cases and will take over the entire legal process so that you can be with your family. We are committed to securing just compensation for you and your family and would dedicate ourselves to your case.
Speak to an Experienced Texas Drowning Accident Lawyer in a Free Consultation Today
Abraham Watkins is a renowned law firm that has been dedicated to assisting personal injury victims in Texas for over seven decades. If you or a loved one has experienced a drowning incident, our skilled legal team is poised to help you secure the compensation you deserve for the injuries, complications, and losses you have endured.
Our process begins with a free consultation. During this phone call, we will attentively listen to the details of your accident in a completely confidential setting and provide you with an overview of your potential legal journey, including an estimate of the compensation you might be entitled to receive.
As a well-established law firm, Abraham Watkins has a proven track record of successfully handling personal injury cases. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge, resources, and commitment to fight for your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. When you choose to work with our firm, you will receive personalized attention, compassionate support, and a team that understands the intricacies of personal injury law in Texas.
Don’t wait any longer to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Abraham Watkins today and allow our legal team to guide you through the process of recovering.Call us at 713-535-9319 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.