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  • Brent A. Couture
  • Tara C. Couture
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Melbourne, Florida Drowning Accident Lawyer

Hurt due to property owners' carelessness? We'll hold them accountable.

Drownings often occur when property owners fail to adhere to Florida’s strict laws regarding safety measures in and around pools and hot tubs. Even if the drowning occurs on private property, the property owner could be held liable if, for example, the pool was not surrounded by a fence or properly covered when the drowning occurred, as required by law. If you or a loved one have been injured in a drowning due to another’s negligence, you might be entitled to significant compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. Reach out to a Melbourne drowning accident lawyer from Couture Law P.A. today to discuss your road to recovery.

Types of drownings

People often are surprised to learn that drownings aren’t always fatal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is defined as the process of respiratory distress related to submersion/immersion in a liquid matter. There are various types of drowning, including:

Near drowning

Near drowning occurs when you can’t breathe for a long time in the water. When you drown, your body is starved of oxygen, and the oxygen deprivation can cause vital body organs to shut down. This can happen in a matter of seconds in some circumstances, particularly with children, but it takes longer for adults. It’s crucial to remember that they can be revived even if someone has been submerged for a long time. Many victims of non-fatal drowning end up developing conditions, like:

  • kidney failure
  • seizures
  • head trauma
  • influenza
  • lung disease
  • fractures
  • brain injuries
  • acute respiratory distress

Secondary drowning

This occurs when a drowned victim is successfully retrieved and resuscitated but is still in danger of dying. When water enters the body, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach, resulting in blood dilution and pH imbalance, which can kill the victim within 72 hours. For example, if a patient drowns in saltwater, the remaining water in the lungs can drain fluid from the bloodstream, resulting in pulmonary edema – sometimes known as pulmonary shock syndrome – which develops hours after the incident.

Dry drowning

Dry drowning doesn’t occur regularly. This is all thanks to the larynx in the throat. It blocks anything from reaching the lungs, even oxygen. Dry drowning involves shutting the throat before the water enters the lungs to suffocate the victim. The heart may stop beating suddenly in many serious cases, causing cardiac arrest.

For these types of incidents to be classified as drownings, there must be evidence of respiratory distress. At Couture Law P.A, we understand how traumatic such accidents can be to the victim and the victim’s family. That is why as our client, you will receive a personalized and sympathetic experience from our personal injury attorneys while being diligently served every step of the proceedings.

Causes of drowning accidents

Injury or death liability in the pool or outside the pool may occur because a property owner has failed to create and sustain a secure pool environment. This is the case on private property as well as hotels and Airbnbs, where state law demands that a pools and other manmade bodies of water be surrounded by sturdy barriers, like fences. Pool areas must be kept safe and clean, through posting warning signs and pool rules, and, where applicable, water depth. The following are examples of potential negligence near swimming pools:

  • inadequate or missing barriers
  • poor pool maintenance
  • inadequate pool lighting
  • lack of safety equipment
  • damaged or missing pool ladders
  • defective diving platform and pool parts
  • improperly trained staff

If a drowning accident lawyer can prove that negligence caused the drowning, the victim or their family can recover medical bills, lost income, physiotherapy or rehabilitation services, future medical bills for long-term disability, and payment for pain and suffering. Additionally, if a drowning leads to death, family members can retain a wrongful death lawyer and file a claim in place of the deceased.

Who may be liable for the drowning?

Building liability regulations stipulate that property owners must ensure that their facilities are always safe for guests. During your stay at the Airbnb or hotel, the owner is responsible for taking care of everything within the property. According to the law, business owners and individuals who run Airbnb’s must take extra precautions to ensure that the facility is safe for residents to enjoy their stay.

The drowned victim or a family member can file a lawsuit against a negligent property owner, or against the person who carelessly caused the accident. Florida Law Section 429.29 outlines four statements for the person bringing the claim to pursue monetary relief if the other party unintentionally caused the plaintiff’s damage or the death of his dependents. They include:

  • the defendant breached duty of care
  • the victim or a member of the family was seriously injured due to the breach
  • the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim
  • the breach of care resulted in the victim’s injury due to drowning

Determining the validity of your drowning accident claim

The court needs a valid entitlement or “count of action” to back up a drowning claim. For example, just because you may have fallen into a pool or hot tub doesn’t guarantee that you would be successful in a slip-and-fall lawsuit. Such claims must be supported by evidence, including the facility owner’s failure to ensure your safety. That’s where we come in. A Melbourne drowning accident attorney from our firm can help track down witnesses and gather evidence while you focus on the most important thing – recovering.

FAQs

What are the statutes of limitations for filing a drowning death lawsuit?

A statute of limitations is a law that establishes a deadline for filing a legal action. For drowning accidents resulting in injury, the lawsuit must be filed within four years. For droning accident lawsuits involving (wrongful) death, the statute of limitations is four years. The entire matter does not have to be handled within the statute of limitations. A proceeding must be filed within a certain time frame, after which it may be extended for as long as the state judge believes is necessary.

Why do I need an injury attorney for a drowning accident case?

The process of filing a drowning lawsuit can be time-consuming, emotionally draining and complicated. Having an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer by your side ensures that your rights are protected and that the maximum legal compensation allowed under law may be pursued by your counsel on your behalf.

Who can be sued for wrongful death following drowning?

Many people die as a result of drowning incidents. The victims’ families are responsible for filing a “wrongful death” lawsuit against the parties at fault. The immediate family members can file this type of suit. If the victim’s spouse and/or children are deceased, anyone else who, under state succession laws, would be eligible for the decedent’s property, can file a wrongful death claim. Some drowning victims survive but slip into a vegetative state. People holding the victim’s power of attorney can then sue on their behalf. This could be the victim’s spouse, a close relative, or another legal representative named by the victim.

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Personal Injury FAQs

At Couture Law P.A. in Melbourne, you won’t pay a penny unless our personal injury lawyers prevail at trial, or procure a settlement on your behalf. This arrangement is commonly referred to as payment “on a contingency basis.” Suffice to say, we’ll help you fight for every dollar for your pain and suffering.

The period of time from the date of the accident until you no longer can file a claim is known as the “statute of limitations.” In Florida, the amount of time in which statutes expire varies by case type. The statute of limitations for most injury cases is four (4) years. For medical malpractice and wrongful death cases, it’s two (2) years. Always err on the side of caution by consulting with your Melbourne personal injury attorney.

Because no two cases are alike, Melbourne injury attorneys should gather and analyze all of the facts regarding your case before addressing this question. After tracking down and speaking with witnesses, we’ll give you a fair, honest assessment of your unique situation – and how we can help.

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