With summer well under way, people have been enjoying their time off in many different ways. If you’re close to a beach, or willing to make a trip, the weather’s been perfect for it. Some Californians have opted for lakes, rivers for swimming or boating. Many others have elected to be poolside, either at home or the nearest public pool. Nobody really expects their summer vacations to end with a serious accident, but it does happen. Despite the best efforts of authorities, accidents still happen, many of which are very easily preventable. The victims of these accidents are NOT always at fault, but it can be difficult to prove as much in court. If you’re unlucky and do suffer injury this summer, your vacation may involve a trip to a personal injury lawyer.
Swimming pools are a common cause of injury and death
The CDC reports that from 2005 to 2014, an average of 3536 fatal unintentional drownings occurred across the United States. That’s about ten deaths each day. One in five drowning victims are 14 years old, or younger. Drowning remains the second leading cause of death of children aged 1-14. For children aged 1-4, the swimming pool at home is one of the leading causes of death in that age group.
Drowning isn’t always fatal, but there can still be severe consequences. Brain damage from drowning can cause memory loss and memory retention issues in the long term. Learning disabilities are another possible consequence. Some drowning survivors lose all basic function.
Many of these deaths are entirely preventable through proper supervision. Safety measures like separate fencing around a pool reduces the chances of children drowning by 83%. Removing alcohol from poolside is also another major risk reduction. Alcohol affects judgement, balance, and coordination, and the effect increases under the hot summer sun.
A Sacramento personal injury lawyer will thoroughly go over the facts surrounding any swimming pool injury and death. Pool owners and even lifeguards at a public pool can be liable for a drowning victim if evidence shows neglect on their part!
Pools are controlled environments that are limited in size. When at a lake, or out in the ocean, safety becomes more of a personal responsibility. However, there are reasonable expectations placed on boat owners and operators to ensure the safety of passengers. These are things a Sacramento personal injury lawyer will be looking at after any boating accident.
In 2015, the Coast Guard dealt with 4,158 boating accidents. 2,613 people were injured in these accidents, while 626 died. Of those deaths, 76% were caused by drowning, and the clear majority of the drowned (85%) were not wearing life jackets.
Boating safety is a growing concern in the U.S. as more boats continue to be registered to private owners. There are nearly 12 million recreational vessels registered in the country now. However, in 2015, 71% of boating accident death occurred on vessels where the operator did not receive proper safety instruction. Of all accident causes, alcohol ranked the highest, contributing to 17% of all fatal boating accidents.
How to reduce the risks
There are many ways to reduce the risks around water. Some of these involve personal responsibility. Others are the responsibility of a lifeguard, responsible adult, or vessel operator. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer will go over the facts of your case. People responsible for the safety of others can be liable for injuries and deaths if there is evidence of their neglect.
Some ways to limit risk in the water include:
- Learning to swim: the ability to swim is a key factor in reducing the chances of drowning in water, whether that’s in a swimming pool or on a lake.
- Know where and WHEN to swim: If authorities issue warnings about a river or a lake, pay attention. In 2017 authorities issued warnings about the rivers running fast, and very cold after the heavy rain in the spring. To date, 17 people have died in California’s rivers. The current, combined with the low temperatures of natural bodies of water, can take the breath out of even an experienced swimmer.
- Avoid alcohol: Whether it’s at the home swimming pool, on a lake boat, or on the ocean, it is best to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. People have drowned in puddles of water they passed out into. That aside, if you’re supervising other swimmers, or are operating ANY motor vehicle or boat, alcohol reduces your ability to watch over them AND react to emergencies.
- Learn CPR: This vital life-saving technique can prevent grim outcomes after a drowning. The sooner anyone provides CPR to a victim, your chances improve at preventing serious, permanent injury.
- Lifejackets: Around natural water settings, a lifejacket will keep you afloat. Toys and air-filled floaters are not as capable as a lifejacket at keeping you on the surface of the water.
- Limit potential risk factors: Improperly storing equipment can lead to tripping hazards around a pool. Toys left floating in a pool can convince children to jump into the water, without supervision. If the weather is bad and the water is rough, swimming or boating may be something to avoid.
Act fast, and get a personal injury lawyer after an accident!
If you’re involved in a serious swimming pool injury accident, or a boating accident, don’t hesitate! Consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can! The injuries you can sustain from these accidents can put a strain on you financially. In the worst cases, you can suffer life-changing effects from your injury. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the better your chances are at getting a fair settlement.