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What to Know About Drowning Risks and Accidents in Savannah

What to Know About Drowning Risks and Accidents in SavannahWe all know how hot it gets here in Savannah in the summer. It is no wonder why so many of us have pools, or go to the beaches to cool off. Over the years, the number of drownings has slowly decreased, but recently, this decrease has come to a standstill. With this in mind, it is important to understand the dangers that swimming poses to both children and adults alike.

If your child ends up hurt or drowned in someone else’s pool, who is responsible? Is your child safe when swimming at the public pools or beaches? The regulations and doctrines around these subjects are complex, and when you need to understand them after an accident, having a Savannah premises liability attorney at your side can help you to focus on what’s important, leaving us to handle the complicated legal work.

Concerning drowning statistics

As we are in the peak of the hottest season of the year, the New York Times released an article detailing research that has been done that shows how the continuous decline in drowning deaths in the United States over a span of three decades seems to have reached a plateau.

Even though the overall number of drowning deaths has gone down by about one-third since 1990, it went up by a surprising 16.8% in just 2020, according to the CDC. In the United States, there are still more than 4,000 people who die from drowning each year, and kids make up about 25% of these cases. These statistics show a big differences between different groups of kids, though. For example, African American children aged five to nine are 2.6 times more likely to drown in pools compared to Caucasian children of the same age, and the risk is even higher for those aged 10 to 14. These differences are also true for kids from other racial and ethnic groups.

Why drowning numbers may even go up, not down

Recent requests for research proposals from the National Institutes of Health highlights the need to better understand how to prevent drowning accidents. We don’t have enough knowledge about effective ways to stop these accidents, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to deeply study childhood drownings to figure out why they happen. Unfortunately,  there are lots of challenges to figuring this out. Factors like less money for recreation areas, not enough lifeguards, and the fact that parents are often distracted by work and devices while trying to watch their kids at pools all contribute to this problem.

In the long run, climate change could make things even worse. A researcher named Deborah Girasek warns that more drownings might happen because of things like floods during hurricanes, icy conditions, and the fact that people might be drawn to risky water spots when it gets hotter. Also, when the temperature goes up, the number of drowning incidents tends to go up too.

Other factors may be relevant as well. For example, a study in Harris County, Texas, showed that drownings were almost three times more likely in homes with multiple families compared to those with only one family. Additionally, it’s concerning that drowning incidents in pools in places with multiple families are 28 times more likely than in places with just one family. This shows that factors such as environment and finances play a big role in this serious problem.

Who is liable for my child’s drowning?

Public pools have a duty to follow state determined safety rules and regulations, as outlined in section 511-3-5 of the Compilation of Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia. If it can be proven that one of these regulations were broken by the entity that owns the public pool which then led to or contributed to the fatal drowning of your child, then that entity may be held liable.

If your child suffers a drowning or pool-related injury at a private residence, then the owner may be liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine.

The attractive nuisance doctrine is a legal principle that holds property owners responsible for potential harm to children who are attracted to dangerous conditions or objects on their property. This doctrine is based on the idea that children might not fully comprehend the risks involved and could be lured by things like swimming pools, construction sites, or abandoned structures. Property owners are expected to take reasonable steps to prevent access to these attractive nuisances, such as installing fences, locks, or warning signs, in order to protect children from harm. If a child is injured due to an attractive nuisance on someone’s property, the property owner might be held liable for the injuries under this doctrine.

What damages can I seek in a wrongful death claim?

In a wrongful death claim, both economic and non-economic values are considered when determining the compensation owed to the surviving family members. Economic value refers to the tangible financial contributions that the deceased would have provided had the tragedy not occurred.

This includes factors such as:

  • Lost income;
  • Potential future earnings;
  • Medical expenses related to the incident;
  • Funeral and burial costs; and
  • Any other quantifiable financial losses directly tied to the death.

Calculating economic value requires careful assessment of the individual’s earning capacity, employment history, and financial obligations to ensure a fair and accurate representation of the financial impact on the family left behind.

Conversely, non-economic value encompasses the intangible losses suffered by the family due to the wrongful death. In Georgia, this category includes the loss of enjoyment of life of the decedent. As these losses are harder to quantify in financial terms, they often necessitate careful consideration of various factors, including the nature of the decedent’s relationships, the quality of life they enjoyed, their hobbies, and other factors of their life. Ultimately, both economic and non-economic values aim to provide a comprehensive assessment of the impact of a wrongful death, ensuring that the compensation awarded addresses both the concrete financial ramifications and the profound emotional toll experienced by those left behind.

If you have lost a loved one due to a drowning, we understand the gravity of such a loss. In these circumstances, it is important to hire a Savannah premises liability attorney who can ensure that you receive the restitution that you deserve. Our experienced legal team at Harris Lowry Manton LLP will handle your case with compassion and care, and we will dedicate our time and effort to fighting for justice for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation, call us in Savannah or use our contact page.

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