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Were you or a loved one injured in a drowning accident? If so, you may have many questions about what to do next. A premises liability attorney will help you navigate the legal system and safeguard your rights. Our legal team can also assist you in obtaining the medical care you require to recover from your injuries.

Our expert drowning accident lawyer can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for your near-drowning injuries.

Contact a personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Chicago drowning accident lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Chicago swimming pool drowning lawyer

What Is a Drowning Accident Injury?

A drowning accident can refer to various water-related accidents, most notably those occurring while swimming. It can also include boating accidents and slip-and-fall accidents near a pool or other bodies of water.

World Health Organization (WHO) data indicates drowning kills 372,000 people yearly, making it one of the world’s leading causes of unintentional injury deaths.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States for people aged 1-14. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [1], drowning kills more children aged 1-4 than any other cause except congenital disabilities.

Drowning mishaps can cause serious pool drowning injuries, including:

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowning accident, it is vital to seek legal assistance immediately.

According to the Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than two-thirds of all drowning patients seen in emergency departments require hospitalization, and more than 20% of those patients require intensive care.

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Who Is Most Susceptible to Drowning?

Anyone can be susceptible to a drowning disaster, but some individuals are at a higher risk than others.


Unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 in the United States.


The elderly account for almost one-third of all fatal drowning mishaps [2]. It may be due, in part, to their increased susceptibility to slips and falls, which results in serious injury.

People With Physical Disabilities

People with physical disabilities are more likely to experience a drowning incident, as they may have difficulty moving or swimming in water.

People Who Cannot Swim

Nearly 80% of all fatal drowning disasters occur in people who cannot swim.

Taking extra precautions when swimming or engaging in other water activities is important. Always swim with a buddy, wear a life jacket [3], and be aware of your surroundings.

There Are Three Main Types of Drowning Victims

Distressed Swimmer

Distressed swimmers in private and public pools, hot tubs, open water, or water parks at recreational centers can drown quickly. In addition, the distressed swimmer shows signs of physical or emotional harm, causing them to panic and drown.

Active Drowning Victim

Active drowning victims suffer severe anxiety While still able to breathe and often scream for help while trying to stay afloat.

Deadly Drowning Victim

A drowning victim has already drowned and is no longer conscious or breathing.

The instinctive drowning response is a survival mechanism brought on by fear when a person begins drowning. These panicked, injured victims instinctively try to hold their breath and keep their heads above water.

This response can lead people to mistakenly believe they are safe and swim out of the situation. But it sometimes leads to death.

In many cases, secondary drowning [4] can occur when the swimmer experiences complications minutes or hours after their drowning accident.

For example, problems can arise when the injured victim has inhaled water, irritating the lungs, which can hinder their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream.

Data shows that approximately half of all drowning victims treated after their near-drowning accident are hospitalized for additional care and treatment. However, most of these injury victims survive.

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What Are the Most Common Causes of Drowning Accidents?

Many factors can contribute to watercraft accidents. However, the most common causes of near-drowning accidents include:

  • Swimming in an unsupervised area is the leading cause of drowning cases for children.
  • Not following posted swimming regulations, Swimmers can get into trouble if they ignore warning signs or swim in off-limits areas.
  • Swimmers can be caught off guard by sudden weather changes, such as storms or high winds, not paying attention to weather conditions.
  • Drinking alcohol can impair judgment and increase the risk of drowning.
  • People with epilepsy [5] are at an increased risk of drowning and swimming pool accidents with a seizure.
  • Fatigued swimmers are likelier to drown as they may have difficulty staying afloat.

If swimming or engaging in other water activities, it is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to stay safe. Always swim with a buddy, never swim alone, and be aware of your surroundings.

What Are the Risks of a Drowning Accident?

There are several risks associated with drowning mishaps, including:

  • Suffocation
  • Trauma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Head injuries
  • Hypothermia [6]
  • Asphyxiation
  • Infections

What Can I Do If I Have Been Injured in a Drowning Accident?

If you have been injured in a drowning swimming pool accident, there are a few steps you can take to protect your legal rights:

  • Seek medical attention immediately for your swimming pool injuries.
  • Contact an experienced Chicago drowning accident attorney at our law firm. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options and can assist you in filing a compensation claim.
  • Keep all documentation related to the swimming pool accident, including medical records, bills, police reports, and other documents related to the accident.
  • Do not speak to the insurance company. The insurance company may contact you to get a statement or settlement offer. Do not speak to them without an accident attorney.
  • Preserve the swimming pool accident scene. Do not disturb the accident scene or remove any evidence from the area if possible.
  • You might need to file a drowning accident lawsuit against property and pool owners. A personal injury claim can be filed against any owner or manager of a private or public swimming pool.

Do Drowning Accidents Cause Long-Term Injuries?

In general, drowning accidents can cause some long-term injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries [7]
  • Permanent neurological disability
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome

Seek medical attention and legal help for victims harmed in drowning accidents in lakes, ponds, and swimming pools. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

Since the tragic death of Virginia Graeme Baker in 2002, pool and spa safety has been a top priority for families with young children.

In response to Baker’s death, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, setting safety standards for public pools and spas.

Seeking Justice for a Drowning Wrongful Death

If you lost a loved one by drowning complications on someone else’s property, family members might have the legal right to file a premises liability case [8] or a compensation claim.

The following are a few examples of legal claims in drowning cases:


Surviving family members may file a claim against the property owner to prove that the property possessor was under negligent supervision and that this negligence led to the drowning death.

Premises Liability

If the property owner was aware of a danger on their property and failed to take corrective action against personal injury cases, or if they knew of a hazardous condition and did not warn guests or tenants, they may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful Death

The family might file wrongful death accident claims if someone else’s negligence caused the drowning. A wrongful death claim can provide compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and other damages related to the death.

Drowning accident attorneys know all these legal areas and will guide you through filing a claim.

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Drowning Risk – Location Matters

Drowning can happen almost anywhere there is water, whether in a pool, the ocean, a river, or a lake. However, some locations pose a greater risk of drowning than others.

Cruise ships, for example, are notorious for their high number of drowning accidents. A study by found more than 100 drownings on cruise ships between 2000 and 2014.

Drowning occurs when someone cannot breathe underwater and the body’s oxygen levels drop dangerously low. Pay attention to any warning signs, such as someone going underwater or struggling in the water, and immediately act if you feel someone may be in danger.

The CDC has identified the following as high-risk locations for drowning incidents:

  • Beaches
  • Rivers and streams
  • Hot tubs [9]
  • Swimming pools
  • Any water container with a defective pool drain
  • Water parks

If you plan to visit any of these locations, be aware of the dangers and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. For example, never enter a swimming pool or wade in water above your head, and always obey all safety signage and warnings to avoid any personal injury.

Drowning incidents take just a few seconds to claim a life.

Who Is Liable for Preventable Drowning Deaths?

In many wrongful death cases, it is difficult to determine who is liable for preventable death. Multiple parties can be involved, including the landlord, lifeguard or swimming pool staff, and the victim’s surviving family members.

Drowning on Private Property

The property owners may be liable if a death occurs due to accidental drowning on private property, such as a water park or a neighbor’s pool or pond. The owner must ensure that their guests are safe and aware of any dangers on the property.

Any defective pool equipment, improper installation, or failure to provide appropriate safety signage may be considered negligence by the property or pool owner and could result in civil liability [10].

Private pools and water parks must also comply with local and state safety regulations. These proper safety equipment requirements include fencing, gate arrangements, and the posting of warning signs.

Drowning in Public Pools

If a fatal drowning occurs in public swimming pools, such as at a hotel or water park, the lifeguard or public pool staff may be liable for a drowning victim’s death. However, owners of public and private swimming pools are responsible for ensuring the safety of guests and providing adequate supervision.

Most swimming pool accidents are preventable, but when a drowning does occur, the victim’s family needs to seek legal counsel to determine if negligence was a factor in the tragedy.

Boating / Watercraft Accident Drowning

The watercraft operator may be liable if a drowning incident occurs due to a boating or watercraft accident [11]. It is because they are responsible for ensuring the safety of their passengers and taking all necessary precautions to avoid accidents.

Who Is Entitled to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In most premises liability cases, any close family member can hire wrongful death attorneys. The family includes the victim’s spouse, children, and parents.

If the victim was unmarried and had no children, their parents may be the only ones eligible to bring a drowning accident lawsuit. The victim’s parents and guardians may sue all liable parties if the decedent was a minor child.

Depending on the state and the specific case, families of drowning victims can recover damages in a premises liability lawsuit. However, the injured person can seek damages that include:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost income and benefits
  • Pain and suffering [12]
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and require the assistance of an experienced lawyer. An attorney can help identify liable parties, understand legal deadlines, and evaluate damages to seek compensation.

Drowning accident attorney Chicago

Benefits of Hiring Drowning Accident Lawyers

A Chicago swimming pool accident lawyer from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you understand your rights and may be able to help you file drowning lawsuits.

Our drowning attorney will also help you negotiate with insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve.

The process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be complex and challenging. That is why it is vital to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

Contact our Chicago drowning accident attorneys for a free, no-obligation free consultation if you are considering hiring a lawyer. Our legal team would happily discuss your case with you and answer any questions.

Resources: [1] CDC, [2] PubMed, [3] PubMed, [4] PubMed, [5] NIH, [6] PubMed, [7] NIH, [8], [9] PubMed, [10], [11] PubMed, [12] Rhode Island

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