For many families along the East Coast, the spring and summer months mean days spent out on the water. As popular as water sports, boating, and days at the beach may be, they all present the risk of drowning accident injuries. Unfortunately, a sizable number of drowning accidents that happen each year prove fatal. Fatal and non-fatal drowning accidents are both terrible tragedies that can affect the lives of victims and their families. And while both types of accidents have similar causes, they have significantly different legal consequences. A drowning accident lawyer can help you understand your case.
What Leads to Drowning Accident Injuries?
Many drowning accidents are preventable. They occur because one or more people choose to engage in reckless or careless behavior when they should not. This is dangerous, especially around the water. Water does not have to be especially deep in order for a drowning to occur. Even water that is only one-inch deep water is enough to cause a small child to drown.
Fatal and non-fatal drowning accidents and injuries can happen when:
- Adults do not supervise children around a pool
- Property owners do not adequately fence their pools to prevent children from using the pool unattended
- There are not enough flotation devices available on a boat or by a pool
- People are horseplaying while in or near the water
- Children and adults do not know how to swim
Another major factor that leads to drowning accident injuries is the use of alcohol and drugs. People under the influence have poorer judgment and are more likely to take risks. Not only this, they are less coordinated and unable to react in an appropriate manner to dangers.
Describing Drowning Accident Injuries
Fatal drowning incidents result in the death of the victim. When drowning, your lungs become saturated with water. This condition interferes with the ability of your body to take in oxygen. Your heart, brain, and other organs will fail without a steady supply of oxygenated blood. It can take less than two minutes for a drowning person to lose consciousness. Death can follow shortly after that.
Immediate Effects of Drowning
This interruption of the flow of oxygen leads to brain damage. Brain damage is one of the most serious side effects of a near-drowning incident. Going for longer periods of time without oxygen can result in more serious harm.
Short periods without oxygen due to non-fatal drowning accidents may not result in any long-term consequences. You might experience memory loss, have a difficult time concentrating, or not be able to think clearly. So long as your brain goes without oxygen for only a short period of time, these symptoms should be temporary.
Lack of Oxygen Leads to Severe Brain Damage
It only takes five minutes or less without oxygen to the brain for you to experience severe consequences. You could slip into a coma, or your brain may completely die. If you are “brain dead,” then there is no ability to keep you alive apart from artificial means.
Less severe, but still serious, damage can also result. This can include cognitive and behavioral changes and loss of functioning. Seizures can also develop as a result of the brain not having enough oxygen. These symptoms can last for the remainder of the person’s lifetime, even after recovery.
Preventing Brain Damage After a Non-Fatal Drowning Accident
In any drowning accident, it is important to restore oxygen flow as quickly as possible. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can supply some oxygen immediately, but artificial ventilation is necessary in most cases. The sooner oxygen is restored, the less severe the outcome and the more likely that any symptoms will be temporary.
Legal Difference Between Fatal and Non-Fatal Drowning Accidents
Compensation is available for victims of drowning accidents. If the accident is fatal, then the victim’s surviving spouse or family members will bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if your drowning incident is not fatal, you may be capable of bringing a personal injury lawsuit yourself.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Drowning Accidents
When you bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you are alleging that another person acted carelessly. Your suit further alleges that this person’s careless behavior led to your loved one’s drowning. So long as a judge or jury believes there is a causal connection between the person’s actions and your loved one’s death, you and other surviving family members can obtain compensation.
The compensation available through a wrongful death lawsuit includes the costs of your loved one’s final medical expenses. Funeral costs are also recoverable. You can also receive damages for the emotional and mental suffering brought on by the loss of your family member. However, only certain close family members of a decedent can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Personal Injury Cases Brought for Non-Fatal Drowning Accident Injuries
If you survive your drowning incident, you could bring a personal injury lawsuit. If another person’s carelessness led to your drowning incident, you may be entitled to compensation.
In a personal injury lawsuit, your compensation is intended to address the costs of your drowning accident injuries. This would pertain to your medical bills and includes the cost of emergency medical care. If you miss time from work, the value of this lost time can lead to additional compensation. Finally, your mental suffering and pain can also be compensated.
The Importance of Having Experienced Legal Counsel
No matter whether you need to file a wrongful death suit or a personal injury case, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Drowning cases can involve complicated issues of law. Trust The Joel Bieber Firm to thoroughly investigate your case and be prepared to address these challenges.
Do not delay. Make sure to contact The Joel Bieber Firm with your drowning accident case and concerns today.