Drowning is estimated to be the fourth leading cause of accidental death nationwide and the second leading cause of death of children under the age of fifteen. It may not be a danger you’d expect to encounter in an urban area but New York City drowning accidents claim the lives of dozens of people every year. Many die in unsafe swimming pools and spas. Still others lose their life to the sea after boating accidents miles or mere yards from shore. Even unguarded standing water can lead to a fatal drowning, especially when children are involved.
Just last month a retired NYC sanitation worker nearly drowned in a canal on Long Island, a short walk from his home, after he dove in trying to save his puppy. If it hadn’t been for an alert passerby, the ending may have been tragic.
The danger is there and property owners may not be doing enough to protect you and your loved ones.
Who is Responsible for Drowning Accidents?
Whether caused by boating accidents, defective or damaged products, or simple mistakes, tragic drowning deaths may involve an element of negligence. If so, surviving family members may be able to sue property owners, managers, and even City agencies on behalf of their lost or injured loved one.
Property owners may be found financially responsible for the death if they failed to provide the proper precautions against drowning such as fencing around pools, ladders, or warning signs. In some cases involving the tragic death of children, landowners may be responsible for having an “attractive nuisance” on their property as well, meaning that if they fail to stop children-even those who aren’t supposed to be there-from being exposed to danger posed by a spa or pool, they may be at fault in the eyes of the law.
Drowning at public or publically accessible sites (such as hotel pools, water parks, health spas, or other water attractions) is treated slightly differently. The owner can-in some cases-be held financially responsible for any negligence resulting in death or injury. Depending on the circumstances, this could mean something as simple as failing to provide a life guard or proper safety equipment. Individuals may even be able to sue the City of New York if City property is involved.
Understanding Premises Liability Law is Essential
While no financial settlement can ever replace a lost loved one, compensation can make everyday life a little more bearable and help relieve some of the financial burden an unanticipated loss can bring. Because liability law is so tricky to navigate, the best course of action for most is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately for help. Understanding how to proceed can make the difference. Call the Law offices of Nussin S. Fogel at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 for a free consultation to learn your rights.