Even though most people are aware of the dangers of drowning, few are aware of just how big a danger negligence around a swimming pool can really be. Perhaps this astounding fact can put swimming pool danger into context: statistically, a home swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than a gun kept in someone’s house. When a swimming pool tragedy occurs — and it does often enough to be the second biggest cause of injury death among children age 14 and under — and negligence was a factor, it’s the statistical equivalent of leaving 100 guns unattended.
Of nearly equal concern is the fact that for every child who dies in a drowning accident, 5 others will receive hospital care. Out of these near-drowning cases, 15 percent will die, and 20 percent will be left with severe neurological injuries. The lifetime care for someone sustaining a water-related brain injury can range into the millions of dollars.
We know enough about drowning and near-drowning accidents to know the importance of proper supervision and swimming pool custodianship. And experienced lawyers like those at McEldrew Young Purtell know enough about the rights of drowning and near-drowning victims to get them the justice they deserve.
How Near-Drowning Causes Brain Damage
There are two ways to sustain brain damage after birth — either through head trauma or in a non-traumatic way. The latter is how near-drowning brain injury is inflicted, through the deprivation of oxygen to the brain, which is known as an anoxic brain injury. An anoxic brain injury can occur in mere minutes, and its effects can be both sudden and pronounced or take years to manifest.
The effects of water-related brain injury can include:
- Inability to process information efficiently
- Lack of clear judgment
- Lack of memory and recall
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral issues
- Sensory impairment
- Motor impairment
- Leaving the victim in a vegetative state
The Biggest Factors in Drowning Accidents
Swimming pools, hot tubs and boats all claim their share of drowning accidents. The CDC has identified the following factors as predictably dangerous:
- Alcohol use: In 70 percent of all water recreation injuries and deaths, alcohol is a factor. It is equally dangerous whether swimming or boating.
- Open access: A fenced-off swimming pool carries an 80 percent lower risk of drowning than one with open access.
- Negligent supervision: According to statistics, 77 percent of children involved in home drowning accidents had been missing for no more than five minutes when they were found in the swimming pool or hot tub — and 70 percent weren’t expected to be swimming or even in the pool area at that time.
- Seizure disorders: For those who suffer from seizures, drowning is the number one cause of injury and death.
How Drowning Injuries Can Be Caused by Premises Liability
Many drowning accidents are caused by unexpected obstacles in and around pools and hot tubs. Hot tub covers sometimes trap swimmers, while the suction generated by drains can pull swimmers underwater. Drain hazards, called circular entrapment, can lead to injury when a swimmer gets their hair, jewelry, accessories or even a limb stuck.
When young children are present around pools and hot tubs, supervision is a must. Young children are the most frequent victims of these premises hazards, as they often lack the strength to free themselves from such traps.
When to Consult with an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
If your family needs advice about your legal options in the aftermath of a brain injury, contact our experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers. At McEldrew Young Purtell, we offer free consultations, and we can usually advance the expenses involved in the investigation and proof of your claim. We only recover our expenses if we successfully resolve your claims through settlement or trial.
Our attorneys have more than 30 years of trial experience with complex personal injury and brain injury litigation in Pennsylvania. Over the years, they have developed close working relationships with outstanding medical professionals, whose evaluation and expert conclusions about what caused the injury could become an essential feature of your claim. Get a free confidential consultation now by filling out our form or calling us directly at 1-800-590-4116.