Articles Posted in Drowning

Sacramento River Drowning

Sacramento Driver Drowning
Sacramento River Drowning

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. On July 4, 2016, California lost a true disability advocate and author in Laurie Hoirup. Mrs. Hoirup was a gubernatorial appointee to the position of Chief Deputy Director of State Council on Developmental Disabilities from 2006-2010 and had been a long time champion against spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that confined her to a wheelchair.

Child Nearly Drowns at Modesto Reservoir

Child Nearly Drowns at Modesto Reservoir

Child Nearly Drowns at Modesto Reservoir

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer. A toddler nearly drowned a Modesto Reservoir on Sunday afternoon. She was not wearing a life jacket.

Child Drowns in Stockton Pool

Child Drowns in Stockton Pool

Child Drowns in Stockton Pool

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury lawyer. Each year, thousands of adults die or receive serious injuries in swimming accidents. Over 1,000 children die each year because of swimming-related tragedies. It only takes a couple of minutes and less than two inches of water for a child to drown. Sadly, a young child lost his life in a Stockton neighborhood on Friday, April 8, 2016.

640px-Child_in_swimming_pool (1)
A dip in the swimming pool is a welcome relief from heat for many Californians.  Tourists to California, enjoy participating in water sports and using the swimming pool at their hotel of choice.  Due to the large amount of water activities Californians enjoys, it is not uncommon for parents to enroll their children in swimming classes and/or send their children to schools where swimming is taught.  While pools for the most part bring delight to old and young alike, from time to time, a tragedy occurs resulting in a wrongful death by drowning.  In the US, the National Safety Council reports that 600 children and adults drown annually in swimming pools.

Lawyers who handle wrongful death claims related to drownings, determine at the outset of the claim if the case meets the standard of premises liability and negligence.   In a nutshell, premises liability puts liability on a property owner for dangerous or hazardous conditions that the owner should have known about or should have been able to foresee.

Cases involving premises liability would be:

Elk Grove Man Presumed Drown

A man from Elk Grove is presumed drowned. Omar Chaar, a graduate of Franklin High School in Elk Grove, was celebrating his 25th birthday on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

He and his friends headed to the popular green waters of the South Yuba River State Park. They all hiked into the Emerald Pool to see some high cliff jumping and enjoy a slide down a thirty-foot waterfall.

boating accidentsBoating accidents are numerically much less common than car crashes, but the “typical” boating accident can result in much more significant injuries than the “typical” car crash. Obviously, most people involved in car crashes will be using seat belts and/or shoulder harness, and in most cars will have the benefit of air bags and other modern safety equipment. In a boating accident, about the most that can be hoped for in terms of safety equipment is that victims will be wearing life jackets that may save them from drowning if they’re ejected from the boat.

A recent example was a boating accident on the Sacramento River near Red Bluff that resulted in injuries to seven people, three of whom had to be taken to a hospital, one of those with significant head injuries who was transported first by ambulance and then by helicopter to a trauma center. Other injuries included a broken arm and hip for the man who was driving the boat. The accident apparently happened when the boat crossed the large wake of another boat, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a bridge piling where Interstate-5 crosses the river.

boating accidentsOther factors leading to boating accidents include inexperienced operators — many boat owners will allow people to operate their boats whom they would never allow to operate their cars. And even experienced boat owners will have far less time at the tiller than experienced car owners have behind the wheel. Alcohol is also a significant factor in many major boating accidents due to its common presence during recreational boating. While operating a boat when intoxicated is certainly illegal in California — with potentially very significant penalties — there just isn’t the same level of law enforcement screening and observation on the waterways as there is on the roadways.

accidental drownings in swimming poolsA backyard swimming pool is a wonderful opportunity for family exercise and recreation, and a spa is a great way for adults and kids to unwind. Unfortunately, they are also sources of potential danger due to the frequency of accidental drownings in swimming pools and spas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1999 and 2013 nearly 10,000 people died in the United States due to accidental drownings in swimming pools. These deaths aren’t evenly spread over different age groups, however — nearly 40% of those fatalities were among children 1 to 4 years of age. Further, the statistics say that for each incident of accidental drownings in swimming pools that is fatal, another ten children end up in hospital emergency rooms with non-fatal problems that can be very serious, including brain injury from oxygen deprivation that can result in permanent brain injury and disability.

There are many good resources available for swimming pool safety such as those from the Centers for Disease Control. Simple and obvious tips such as keeping a close watch on young children in and around swimming pools and avoiding significant intoxication that can lead to drowning in adults who are swimming are included. Studies also show that taking swimming lessons can very significantly reduce young children’s risk of accidental drownings in swimming pools, perhaps by nearly 90%.

In California, since 2007 all new and remodeled swimming pools and spas in single family residences must also comply with the Swimming Pool Safety Act, sections 115920 through 115929 of the California Health and Safety Code. Among the requirements of the Swimming Pool Safety Act are the installation of some sort of barrier between the home and the pool. There are several options available, including a full enclosure of the pool or spa, removable mesh pool fencing, an approved safety pool cover, exit alarms on building doors leading to the pool area, and/or self-latching, childproof devices on those doors.

California residents leads the nation in hot tub ownership.  Knowing that, it is therefore no surprise that statistically Californian’s are also three times more likely to drown in a hot tub than residents of any other state.

Despite California being the leading owners of hot tubs a study prepared by Scripps Howard News service reviewed the mortality records from the years of 1999 to 2003 and found that states such as Wyoming and New Mexico had an unusually high reporting of death due to drownings.  In most of these hot tub fatalities, alcohol was involved.

While swimming pool drownings most often involve youths, hot tub drownings deaths are almost always among adult people between the ages of 5 and 64. Why are fatalities in hot tubs almost always associated with able-bodied adults?

mudUnless you have been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard of  “mud runs” and obstacle course-style running events – but did you know about the required waiver?

Maybe as a reaction to the digital and sedentary lifestyles of many, a record number of Americans are signing up and participating in events that allow you to climb rope ladders, swim or wade through frigid waters, crawl through mud pits and even run through fire.  Sound exciting?  Sound dangerous?  It can be quite dangerous.  As well organized as these races are, there have been a large number of injuries at these events.

Of course when someone is injured as a result of such an activity, often the injured party looks to pursue financial compensation from the entity responsible for that activity.  In fact, they may think it’s a “no-brainer” that because the injuries occurred during such a dangerous event – one that includes an obstacle course that  may have been poorly planned, supervised or maintained – the organizers would be responsible for the injuries.  However, it isn’t such an open and shut case.  In all recreational events of these types, mud runs or even in a simple 5 kilometer road race without obstacles, participation requires signature of a waiver of liability.