There are five public pools in Trenton, NJ according to the city’s website, and there are countless more private pools in the city. When tragedy happens at a pool, and a person dies in a swimming pool drowning, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable parties.
Common Swimming Pool Accidents and Responsible Parties
Faulty drains that trap people in the water are a common cause of drowning accidents. Other times a lack of supervision leads drowning accidents, especially if a poor swimmer gets stranded in deep water.
Slip and falls into the water and injuries from diving boards are other common causes of pool-related deaths. The number of hazards around pools is many, and pools require lots of care and attention to ensure no one gets hurt.
After a pool death, parties that can be liable if they contributed to the accident include:
- pool owners;
- organizations operating public pools;
- homeowners; and
- pool manufactures.
These parties purchase liability insurance to protect themselves in the event of accidents. Homeowners can be responsible for a drowning, even if a child trespasses onto their property under the legal doctrine of ‘attractive nuisance.’ This doctrine states that if a pool owner failed to take reasonable steps to secure the pool (which is attractive to children) from dangers, the homeowner is responsible for injuries.
Pursuing Wrongful Death Actions
Surviving family members may bring survival actions as well as wrongful death actions after a loved one’s death. The decedent’s personal representative can bring these claims for the benefit of the deceased’s estate or beneficiaries.
Survival actions are brought by the decedent’s estate for damages the decedent suffered between the accident and the time of death. This might be the case if an individual suffers a near drowning, and then later passes away in the hospital after several days or weeks.
Wrongful death lawsuits compensate surviving family members for the harms they suffer after a death:
- children; and
- parents of the victim.
To win either of these actions, the plaintiff has to prove the defendant acted negligently, and the negligence caused the decedent’s death. Negligence usually means failing to provide reasonable care to prevent harm to others.
This often involves a property owner responsible for the pool, such as a public pool that fails to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act that specifies that compliant drain covers must be installed.
Some pool drowning accidents, like when the drain pulls someone under water, can lead to a product liability lawsuit, as manufacturers are responsible for defects in their products.
What types of damages might a legal claim seek?
A wrongful death lawsuit or claim allows a claimant to seek damages like mental anguish and loss of companionship. Economic damages may also be included in a wrongful death claim, such as any lost earnings if the decedent contributed to household finances.
A survival action may seek damages the decedent suffered between the time of the accident and death:
- medical bills;
- lost wages; and
- pain and suffering.
Those thinking of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit should consult an attorney to review the full extent of the damages they may seek in a survival action or wrongful death claim. Cordisco & Saile LLC helps families seek justice after a loved one dies in a swimming pool death. Contact us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation or visit our contact page to set up an appointment.