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In Texas, Who Is Liable in a Drowning Accident?

Our Houston lawyers explain who pays damages for pool and other swimming-related injuries or deaths

Texas drowning accident cases can be complex, mainly because it can be hard to figure out who’s at fault and who is liable. Property owners might say they didn’t do anything wrong, claim they took all the right safety steps, blame the victim, or even try to hide or destroy any evidence that could help the case.

Drowning accident claims and lawsuits typically involve an area of the law known as premises liability. This law gives injured accident victims and the families of fatal drowning accident victims the right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and potentially other damages. Drowning accident cases are frequently high stakes due to the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim. Common injuries in Texas drowning accidents include:

  • Brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during submersion
  • Pulmonary edema, caused by water being inhaled into the lungs
  • Fractures from impacts with the pool surface or sides
  • Hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to cold water
  • Spinal injuries from diving accidents, potentially resulting in paralysis
  • Fatal injuries

Liable parties may try to get out of taking responsibility for such serious injuries and expenses. That’s why establishing who is liable is fundamental to a case’s success. Determining liability involves understanding whether negligence or a breach of duty occurred, and who was responsible for maintaining a safe environment.

Potentially liable parties in swimming pool and other drowning-related accidents

Drowning accidents are frequently due to the reckless or negligent behavior of property owners, but they are not the only potentially liable parties. In a pool accident or another type of drowning accident, potentially liable parties may include:

  • Homeowners. They can be liable for not securing the pool area properly or for failing to maintain safety standards, leading to accidents.
  • Governmental entities (municipal or school pools). They may be held responsible for lapses in enforcing safety protocols, inadequate maintenance, or insufficient lifeguard coverage.
  • Pool maintenance companies. If accidents are due to improper maintenance or chemical handling, these companies could be liable.
  • Contracted lifeguards. Failure to properly supervise, recognize, or respond to a distressed swimmer could make contracted lifeguards liable.
  • Contractors. If a pool’s design or construction is flawed, leading to an accident, the contractors involved in the pool’s construction could be held accountable.
  • Manufacturers. They might be liable for accidents caused by defective pool equipment or components, such as faulty drains or pool covers.

In some cases, multiple parties might share liability for a swimming pool or drowning accident, depending on how their actions contributed to the incident. An experienced Houston drowning accident lawyer can investigate what happened, identify the liable parties, and explain legal options for multiple actions and maximum compensation.

Proving liability in a Houston drowning accident

In Texas, injured drowning accident victims have the right to seek financial compensation from the liable party or parties for expenses related to the accident. However, to file a strong claim for damages, certain legal criteria must be met. To hold a party liable in Texas, a claim should establish that:

  • The victim’s injury is the result of negligence or a wrongful act.
  • The victim is legally entitled to pursue compensation in Texas.
  • The victim has experienced a financial loss due to the injury.

Proving liability in a drowning accident may involve showing that there was inadequate supervision, faulty safety equipment, or neglected pool maintenance. If the drowning accident was fatal, surviving family members can consider filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit for additional damages for funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of contribution. In Texas, the individuals eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit include the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. In some instances, the executor of the deceased’s estate may also be eligible to pursue compensation.

Evidence in a drowning accident lawsuit or claim

The specific evidence required to prove liability in a drowning accident claim or lawsuit can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. An experienced drowning accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation that discovers important evidence that supports their client’s case. Common types of evidence that may be available in a drowning accident include:

  • Witness testimonies. Accounts from people who were present at the time of the accident.
  • Surveillance footage. Videos from cameras that may have captured the drowning or conditions leading to it.
  • Photographs. Pictures of the accident scene, including any hazards that could have contributed to the drowning.
  • Accident reports. Official documents from lifeguards, pool operators, or law enforcement detailing the incident.
  • Medical records. Documentation of injuries sustained and treatments required due to the drowning accident.
  • Expert testimony. Opinions from lifeguarding experts, pool safety experts, or medical professionals about the accident and its effects.
  • Safety records. Information regarding previous accidents or safety violations at the location.
  • Pool maintenance records. Logs of pool upkeep that might show negligence in maintaining safe conditions.
  • Product information. In cases of product malfunction, details about the product and its safety standards.
  • Lifeguard qualifications. Credentials and training documentation of lifeguards or pool staff on duty.

Drowning accident compensation

Determining the value of a drowning accident claim involves a thorough evaluation of past, current, and future damages. A drowning accident settlement should address:

  • Emergency medical care or surgery right after your accident
  • Follow-up medical care
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost income during your recovery
  • Lost future income if you cannot return to work
  • In-home medical care, if necessary
  • Modifications to your home if you sustain a permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering, in certain circumstances

If the injuries were fatal, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for memorial and funeral expenses, loss of contribution, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other potential damages. Consulting a lawyer as soon as possible after a drowning accident is important to ensure that the injured person or their family receives fair compensation.

It’s our mission to make things right

A Houston drowning accident lawyer can provide indispensable aid by ensuring the case receives the necessary dedication to justice that it deserves. They will assist with documentation, thoroughly investigate the accident, and uncover important evidence in pursuit of maximum compensation. If the responsible party’s insurance is uncooperative, the lawyer can file a lawsuit seeking to hold them liable.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a Houston area drowning accident, take immediate action to protect your rights under Texas law. Contact Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law, for a confidential, free case evaluation. We can answer your questions, explain your legal options, and help you decide the next steps. You can rely on us to support and fight for you in your time of need.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “In Texas, Who Is Liable in a Drowning Accident?”

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