Many dangers lurk in the sand or in the water that can cause harm to swimmers or sunbathers. If you have been injured at a public beach due to negligence on behalf of the property owner, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages through a legal claim.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys advocate for injured and drowning victims. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure we obtain the maximum compensation you deserve to pay medical bills and receive additional income for lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Contact our Chicago drowning accident attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information and evidence you share with our legal team constitute an attorney-client relationship.
Lurking Dangers of a Drowning Accident and Drowning
While many people know that there is a risk of drowning at the beach, most are unaware of other dangers. Drowning is the number one cause of death on private and public beaches, water parks, jet skis, and other watercraft.
Thousands of people drown each year in boating accidents, and thousands more die from injuries caused by slip and fall accidents or attacks by marine life. A third common cause for beach deaths is a heart attack or stroke, which can be triggered by overexertion during strenuous activities such as swimming or running to escape a riptide.
The last thing that anyone expects from a trip to the beach is to end up injured, but there are many hazards in the water and on land that can cause a beach accident or serious injury. When a beach is improperly maintained or lacks good staff, the owner can be liable if a beach accident results from someone's negligence.
Anyone hurt while visiting the beach should consult an experienced drowning accident lawyer for legal advice and determine if they are entitled to compensation to cover the cost of medical care resulting from their accident.
Not all beach drowning accidents are caused by negligence. However, it is always a good idea to explore your legal options and whether the incident could have been avoided if the property owner had taken adequate measures to keep the beach safe.
A personal injury accident lawyer at our law firm can help resolve your beach accident case to determine if the ferry of following safety measures could have prevented your damages.
Drowning Accident Statistics
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Sadly, this information isn't widely known. However, it's estimated that more than ten people die each day from drowning, and many others suffer lifelong disabilities due to aquatic accidents.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drowning and diving accidents are the leading causes of unintentional deaths, especially for children under 14.
In comparison with other injury-related causes of death among children ages 1 to 14 years old, accidental drowning ranks third, just behind motor vehicle crashes and fires or burns.
Drowning Accident Statistics From the CDC & CPSC:
In 2010 alone, there were 3,582 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S., averaging ten deaths per day, which averages out to one individual every three hours. Other drowning death accident stats include:
- 70 percent involved males
- Blacks had the highest rate (5.2 per 100,000); followed by whites (3.3), American Indian/Alaskan Natives (2.9), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (0.8)
- Drowning death ranks in the top three causes of death for children ages 1-4 and the top four causes for children ages 5-14
- Those who drowned ranged in age from younger than one year to 103 years old
According to a report by USA Swimming: For every child that drowns, five more receive emergency department care for nonfatal drowning injuries, including a near-drowning accident. It means 380,000 people in the United States required emergency medical care after suffering a near-drowning in 2003 alone. More statistics from this report include:
- In 2005, males made up 80 percent of all sudden and unexpected deaths related to water incidents;
- In 2005, children younger than five years old accounted for 60 percent of all drowning death victims
- For every child that drowns, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal drowning injuries
The leading causes of "accidental" death in the water by age group:
- 0-4: Water-related accident involving drowning
- 5-14: Drowning and submersion while swimming
- 15-24: Boating and inflatable raft incidents
- 25-64: Drowning
- 65+: Drowning and fall into the water
According to a release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): "Children under age five now account for nearly 30 percent of reported bathtub drownings."
From 1999 to 2007, CPSC received reports of 438 infant and child drownings in portable pools. Most (74 percent) involved children younger than three years old. Of these incidents, 37 percent occurred on the residence pool deck or patio area.
A study completed by Safe Kids Worldwide, "Report to the Nation on Child Injury Prevention" (2007), has shown that drowning is more likely to occur at home, during the unsupervised time. According to this report:
- About half of all fatal drowning incidents involving young children happen in residential locations
- Residential locations account for 60 percent of fatal drowning incidents involving school-age children ages 5 to 14
- A majority of these deaths occur during May through August, which are the warmest months of the year
Why are statistics for drowning so poorly documented? Most fatal drowning victims aren't autopsied (70-80 percent) because they are brought to medical examiners or coroners in states of decomposition, making the cause of death difficult to determine. According to Drowning Prevention Foundation:
- More than ten people die each day from drowning; that's almost 3,000 deaths per year
- Worldwide, more than 375,000 drownings occur per year
- About 90 percent of drowning victims treated for hypothermia after cold water accidents survive
Drowning occurs when water enters your lungs and prevents oxygen from getting into your bloodstream. If untreated, it causes brain damage due to lack of oxygen, which means drowning victims are often left impaired for life after they survive a water-related accident where they were underwater for some time.
In 2009, the Drowning Prevention Foundation looked at all existing drowning prevention campaigns from around the world. It determined that most "were not effective in delivering their message" to those most likely to be influenced by them.
One problem with previous campaigns was that they used passive images, such as a child playing in the water, but failed to address potential hazards.
According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, "Sixty-one percent of young children who drowned were being watched by one or both parents at the time of the drowning."
The foundation also reports that 88 percent of under-fives drown within 25 yards from a supervising adult. In addition, other sources indicate that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14.
Therefore, it stands to reason that parents are perhaps not capable of supervising their child's safety in water situations as they had once thought. As a result, more than half of all drownings involve those out of sight for five minutes or less before they drown.
Keeping Children Safe at the Beach
Many parents believe their child is at low risk for drowning because they are good swimmers or have taken swimming lessons. But drowning can happen in water as shallow as one to two inches or even in the bathtub.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, there are ways for parents and caregivers to reduce the risk of drowning dramatically:
- Supervise children at all times while at the beach to prevent beach accidents
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and make sure all adults and older children in the house know how to perform CPR
- Install appropriate barriers, such as fences with self-closing, self-latching gates with access to the beach area. Gates should be secured by hardware mounted on walls extending at least six inches into concrete or masonry surfaces that cannot be removed;
- Keep rescue equipment nearby
- Remove toys, inflatable tubes, and other items that might attract children to the water when not in use
- Never leave a child alone near water. No adult should ever assume that another adult is watching a child.
Common Beach Injuries
Common injuries sustained on beaches include the following.
- Injuries sustained from activities such as water skiing, boating, or operating any motorized aquatic vehiclethat results in an accident
- Surfing accidents that can end in drowning if there are no lifeguards present
- Lacerations caused by broken glass or debris on the beach— which is the result of poor maintenance by the property owners
- Beach accidents resulting from unsafe or improperly maintained structures on or near the beach, including playground equipment
- Failure to warn of dangerous conditions including under-currents and significant depth drop-offs
The lack of appropriately trained lifeguards at the beach can result in drowning if a swimmer suffers an injury and cannot make it to shore. However, lifeguards can also save lives if beachgoers happen to be hurt on land and are a vital part of beach safety.
In many beach accident cases, the incident could have been avoided if a lifeguard had been present.
Beach Safety Tips
We all enjoy going to our local pool or going on a day trip to the beach, but we must be aware of our surroundings and take safety precautions. Even if you've been swimming since you were a kid, there are always ways to improve your skills.
For many people, the summer months are a time to spend relaxing in the sun. However, there are some safety risks that you should be aware of when it comes to swimming. This blog post will discuss three things to keep in mind while you're at the beach or pool this summer:
- Staying out of deep water if you can't swim well
- Making sure someone is always watching your children around pools and
- Knowing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)if necessary
The first thing is not diving into water that's too deep for your skill level - or any body of water for that matter! The next step is to ensure that one person always watches over kids near a pool - no more than two feet away from them at all times.
Finally, even though most people don't know CPR, if you're able to learn this life-saving skill, it can be a lifesaver. Lifeguards are around the pools and beaches of the world because they have been trained to do these things. If someone is hurt, CPR can save their life.
Every year, millions of individuals enjoy hanging out on the beach to relax and enjoy the warm sun. Typically, the local municipality will hire lifeguards to provide an enjoyable environment and ensure everyone remains safe.
The lifeguard must ensure that every swimmer and beachcomber remains safe and free of dangerous situations, requiring acting immediately to preserve public safety.
Even though the lifeguard receives adequate training and is given a section of the beach large enough to manage, they still fail to exercise their duty of care regularly. Their negligence often places the swimmers at risk of suffering great harm, near-drowning, or drowning.
Negligence on the part of the lifeguard is not always due to lack of training. Sometimes, distractions lead them to miss warning signs that put everyone else's lives in jeopardy.
Lifeguards may be distracted by cell phone use, socializing among themselves instead of watching for dangers, or simply sleeping while on duty since there are no consequences if they neglect their duty resulting in personal injury or death to swimmers and sunbathers on the waterfront.
When lifeguards fail to act properly, they leave the beachgoers at risk. It can result in serious injury or death for those swimming or sunbathing with no protection from dangerous situations.
Did your loved one drown because a lifeguard failed to provide adequate warning of a dangerous situation or failed to act quickly once the danger became apparent? If so, you might be entitled to compensation for your loss.
Death by Drowning
If your loved one was killed because they slipped and fell on the wet sand or went underwater suddenly during their trip to the beach, their death could be ruled as an accident, meaning that no party is held responsible for causing the drowning.
However, there are times when others might be negligent for not renting assistance to someone in distress. For example, imagine a person swimming in an area with posted rip current warning signs failing to come ashore when there are obvious signs they are struggling by flailing arms or trying to stay afloat, but no one is coming to their aid.
If your loved one was murdered at the beach due to an argument over something like money owed for drugs purchased, the lifeguard's negligence might have put your loved one in a dangerous situation.
Their death can be ruled accidental, resulting in no party being held responsible for causing the drowning. However, if someone else's actions or omissions caused their death, you might be entitled to compensation for your loss.
Rip Current Dangers
Rip currents are strong seaward-flowing ocean currents that form at breaks in sandbars and near structures within the waves. Normally these currents are only about knee-deep, but they are powerful enough to drag even an adult out to sea quickly when once caught in it.
The dangers of rip currents are obvious. Every year many drown due to rip currents which are difficult or impossible to escape from once the victim is caught up in the powerful flow.
In addition, victims often die before they can be rescued due to the tremendous force with which these currents pull them underwater, making it hard for them to resurface and breathe. Swimming within marked swimming zones is always preferred since lifeguards are on duty around the clock during the summer when many people flock to the shores.
However, if your loved one drowned because of a rip current or was attacked by another person near the shoreline (or if someone else's actions caused their drowning), you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.
Even the best members should protect themselves with life jackets and other floatable devices when caught and hazardous conditions, including high waves. In addition, beachcombers should look for obvious warning signs indicating when hazardous conditions like recurrence are at play.
Lifeguards are also on duty to assist in cases when a beach accident takes place. However, if your loved one drowned because of a rip current or was attacked by another person near the shoreline (or if someone else's actions caused their drowning), you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.
Why Using an Attorney Can Help
No amount of money can replace the life of your loved one, but there are damages available through the court system that will help them rest easier knowing you have been compensated for their loss.
Under certain circumstances, punitive damages may even be awarded, which serve not only to compensate but also to punish negligent parties who acted carelessly with complete disregard for others' safety. Yet, at the same time, they suffered the consequences of their omissions.
If you are ready to file charges and pursue financial compensation, contact a drowning lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation or case evaluation. Let our legal team reviewed your beach accident case's merits, the evidence, and speak to eyewitnesses to determine the value of your lawsuit and offer legal advice.
Your Legal Rights After a Beach Drowning or Injury
Are you harmed at the beach and felt that your injury could have been prevented? Did you lose a loved one through a preventable drowning death? If so, speak with a drowning accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC to discuss a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Our beach accident attorneys have represented many injured victims harmed at the beach in accidents that could be avoided entirely if the property owners make minor adjustments to the beach's upkeep or the amount of staff and the level of training provided to them.
Should a court determine that your injuries were the result of negligence, you could be entitled to damages in the amount of the cost of your medical care, pain & suffering, and any lost wages that might be the result of your recovery.
For a free case evaluation, submit the contact form or call (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to discuss your personal injury case and receive immediate legal advice. In addition, surviving family members who lost a loved one through preventable drowning can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the drowning victim.
Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. Our no-fee owed promise ensures you do not pay unless we win.
- NIH - Coastal drowning
- NCBI- Investigation of Drowning Deaths