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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

Who Is Liable for a Drowning Accident?


When a drowning incident occurs, property owners – whether they are private individuals, a company, or the government – can be held liable for damages by victims or their families.

Most people understand drowning as an incident that necessitates the victim’s death, but this isn’t accurate. Drowning is respiratory impairment caused by a liquid medium, such as pool water. It’s possible to survive a drowning incident, but the survivor might experience lifelong disability and adverse health conditions as a result.

When someone or their loved ones experience financial loss or other damages as a consequence of a drowning incident, they may be able to initiate legal action against property owners of pools, ponds, rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water.

Determining Liability in a Drowning Incident

When a drowning occurs, property owners may only be at fault if they breach a duty of care owed to the victim. Duty of care refers to exercising reasonable care over one’s property to avoid injuring others.

In California, everyone owes a duty of care to everyone else, but this can have particular implications if someone owns a pool or another body of water. This means that care should be exercised to warn against known risks or dangerous behaviors that can cause injury.

For example, you might notice signs that warn against running around a pool or diving into a particular depth of water. Companies or government bodies that own pools are likely to either have lifeguards on duty or warn pool-goers that no lifeguard is on duty.

These are all examples of how a possible plaintiff can exercise their duty of care, which also includes ensuring that a pool is properly constructed, well-maintained, and doesn’t pose any other hazards.

What Happens When a Property Owner Breaches Their Duty of Care?

If a court determines that a property owner breached a duty of care owed to a drowning victim, and that breach caused the victim to drown and die or sustain injuries, then the court might rule in favor of the plaintiff.

There are other factors that the court will take into account, however, which can mitigate damages. For instance, a victim’s poor swimming skills may be taken into account along with a lack of supervision for that person when there was adequate warning of no lifeguard on duty. In a scenario such as this, damages awarded to the plaintiff can be reduced.

Contact a Lawyer to Learn More

Drowning accidents can be complicated legal claims to pursue, but you can get the sophisticated legal representation you require from Smolich and Smolich. Our experienced attorneys can handle a variety of personal injury claims, including those involving drowning accidents.

Learn more about our legal representation during a complimentary case evaluation. Contact us today to schedule yours.