Drowning is the process of a respiratory impairment, where being submerged in liquid cuts the oxygen supply to the brain. This leads to unconsciousness and cardiac arrest as the blood flow is disrupted.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists accidental drowning as the third most common cause of accidental death in the world, with 320,000 people dying from unintentional drowning on average each year. However, this global estimate may significantly underestimate the true public health problem.
If you have lost a loved one due to an accidental drowning incident, then you may want to sue and claim for compensation. At The Law Place, our lawyers have the knowledge necessary to be able to help you get the financial compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 941-444-4444 for a free case evaluation with one of our esteemed attorneys.
What Increases the Risk of Drowning?
While it is possible for anyone to drown, and there is a large number of circumstances that could revolve around an incident, there are certain risk factors that could raise the likelihood. The following risk factors can increase the risk of unintentional injury in the water and accidental drowning:
- Age – Globally, the highest drowning rates are found among children aged one to four years, and then found among children five to nine years old. This is often associated with a lapse in supervision. Young children also may not fully recognize the danger that bodies of water can bring or overestimate their swimming capabilities.
- Gender – Men are at a much higher risk of drowning than females, with twice the overall mortality rate. They are also more likely to be hospitalized than females for non-fatal drowning. This is believed to be because males are because of higher exposure to water and riskier behavior.
- Access to water – Unsurprisingly, those who live closer and have more access to water are at a higher risk of unintentional drowning as they spend more time in the water.
- Flood disasters – In recent years, flood disasters have become more frequent, and this trend is likely to continue.
- Alcohol use – Alcohol inhibits people’s physical skills, reaction times, and rational judgment. When under the influence of alcohol or drugs, people may overestimate their ability to swim and not realize the strength of the water they’re in.
- Medical conditions – It can be dangerous to be alone in water if you have medical conditions such as epilepsy, as if you have an epileptic fit in the water, you may be unable to stop yourself from drowning.
Regardless of how many of the risk factors were involved in your particular case, if any at all, you may deserve compensation if a loved one was involved in an accidental drowning incident. Call The Law Place today for a free consultation to see if you deserve financial compensation.
Is Accidental Drowning in a Bathtub Possible?
It is possible for anyone to drown in a mere inch of water. This includes natural bodies of water, swimming pools, buckets, and bathtubs, which are all common locations of drowning. Though infants and the elderly are at a greater risk of dying by drowning in a bathtub, abled-bodied people within the ages of five and 64 have also been known to frequently drown in bathtubs.
Drowning in bathtubs is so common among children under the age of five as, if unsupervised, they can often slip and fall under the surface and don’t have the core strength to be able to pull themselves back up. Whenever bathing a child under six years old, it is crucial that they are never left unsupervised, no matter how short that period of supervision maybe, especially as children often don’t make a sound when drowning.
While adults can and do drown in bathtubs, it’s more common for them to drown in swimming pools, hot tubs, or natural, larger bodies of water. Consumption of alcohol and/or drugs is a frequent cause of unintentional drowning, which can impair the victim’s coordination, judgment, and balance. Another common cause is preexisting medical conditions, particularly seizure disorders, as this is the leading cause of unintentional injury.
In many cases where adults have drowned in bathtubs, it often occurred because the victim fell, hit their head, lost consciousness and drowned, or because they fell asleep or passed out and drowned.
What Are the Five Stages of Drowning?
Accidental drowning is not immediate death. While it happens very quickly, it can take between 10 to 12 minutes before death occurs, although, for a child, it could happen much more quickly. Regardless of the reasons why an individual can’t move through the water, whether it be due to being physically restricted and submerged, a lack of swimming ability, or being unconscious and thus unable to escape to safety, they are at risk of drowning. From the very first moment that water enters the lungs, the victim’s body automatically goes through the following five stages, ultimately and unfortunately ending in their death.
- Surprise – This is the stage where the victim recognizes that they’re in danger and becomes afraid as the sensation of water entering their lungs shocks them. The victim adopts a vertical position in the water, and their legs don’t move, but their arms make grasping motions with their arms near the surface. Their head will be tilted upwards. Breathing is a struggle at this stage, and so the victim will be making no sounds.
- Involuntary breath-holding – The victim starts to hold their breath involuntarily as water enters the mouth in an attempt to protect themselves. This is because the water causes the epiglottis to close over the airway, which is the body’s attempt to protect itself. The victim may continue to struggle, but they can’t make sounds as they can’t breathe. This stage ends as the victim loses consciousness.
- Unconsciousness – The body has started shutting down because the victim has been without oxygen, and so unconsciousness is the result. They are in respiratory arrest, and there are no chest movements or breathing sounds. The unconscious victim will now no longer struggle and will sink to the bottom of the water, the speed of which depends on specific factors, such as the amount of air trapped in the lungs, muscle mass, and body weight.
- Hypoxic convulsions – Because of the lack of oxygen, the victim may look as if they’re convulsing. Their skin may turn blue, especially in the lips and fingernails, and their body may look rigid. The victim’s body will likely jerk violently and may froth at the mouth.
- Clinical death – This is the final stage of drowning. When the victim’s breathing and circulation both stop, the victim dies, and clinical death has occurred, through cardiac arrest.
If you have lost a loved one through accidental drowning, then you should call an attorney today.
What to Do If Someone Is Drowning
It is important to know what steps to take if you notice someone drowning: it could be the difference between life and death. First, you must identify if a victim is drowning. There are three main types of victims in drowning situations:
- Distressed swimmer – These show physical signs of panic and are often struggling to keep their head above the water. They may call out, splash, or wave to get attention and help.
- Active drowning victim – These victims cannot stay above the surface and are unable to call for help. They may have their head thrown backward with their face upward and their arms flapping.
- Passive drowning victim – These are unconscious and/or below water and most likely not breathing, often with their face in the water. They are in critical condition at this stage.
Timing is critical once a person begins drowning, and it is crucial that they are rescued within 20 and 60 seconds, as this is as long as the body can remain upright in the water. With small children, this length of time is often shorter as their body will tire out quicker. After this stage, emergency rescue is required.
A delayed rescue could result in severe, life-changing injuries, or even, in the worst cases, death.
If you have managed to pull a drowning victim out of the water, but they are unresponsive and not breathing, then you may need to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is a procedure that combines frequent and consistent chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth ventilation to help a person suffering from cardiac arrest.
You should also call 911 and get help as soon as possible.
Could You Have an Accidental Drowning Case?
There are many things that may have allowed for an accidental drowning incident to occur. If you have lost a loved one through accidental drowning, then you may have grounds to make a claim. Below are some of the causes of accidental drowning that could apply to your case:
- Untrained or inadequately trained staff.
- Lifeguards failing to properly supervise when on duty.
- Overcrowded areas.
- Failure to create a working and tested prevention plan.
- Missing, defective, or broken emergency equipment.
- A lack of water clarity.
- Failure to install or maintain gates, barriers, fences, or latches.
- Failure to meet industry standards.
If any of the above were a part of the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s accidental drowning, then you may be able to sue for compensation to help you financially. Financial compensation can be incredibly helpful and necessary after such a tragedy to help you recover. It can help cover any medical bills that were incurred to treat the victim’s injuries and property repair bills you may have had to endure because of the accident.
You could also receive money to cover the income that the deceased would have earned over their lifetime to provide support. Some more common damages are lost companionship, which is to compensate the family for the loss of an important relationship, and funeral expenses.
There are multiple different parties and organizations that could be at fault for any accidental drowning case, and an experienced lawyer at our law firm would be able to deduct who is to blame. The following parties have been commonly known to be negligent in drowning cases:
- Recreational centers.
- Neighborhood associations.
- Swim management companies.
- Private premises owners.
- Non-profit organizations.
We understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss that you’re experiencing, financial compensation could ease your suffering to an extent. It can also serve as a form of closure, and proof that some form of justice has been served for your devastating loss. Call The Law Place today for a free consultation and for advice on whether you may be able to claim for compensation.
The Law Place
One of the first things you should do after a drowning or near-drowning accident is to contact a drowning attorney that you know has the experience and knowledge needed to give you the best chance at winning your case. Our lawyers at The Law Place have a combined 75 years of experience in dealing with the Florida legal system, and so you know that we are able to fight for your justice and ensure that those responsible are held to account. We want to ensure that better safety measures are put in place, preventing similar drowning accidents from occurring in the future. Call The Law Place today at 941-444-4444 for a free consultation.