Child Drowned in a Pool? Your Legal Rights and Next Steps

    Experiencing the heart-breaking news and tragic loss of a child is an unimaginable pain no parent should ever have to endure. For any parent or guardian facing such a horrific tragedy, my deepest condolences go out to you during this difficult time. As an attorney who has worked with many families who have lost loved ones, I on hope I can provide you with information about your legal rights and potential next steps after the devastating incident of your child drowning in a pool.

    First and foremost, allow yourself time and space to grieve. The coming days, weeks, and months will be incredibly difficult emotionally. Seek support from loved ones, support groups, counseling, or other resources as you go through the grieving process. Even as you work through the legal process, remember the importance of caring for your mental health.

    From a legal standpoint, it is advisable to consult with a wrongful death personal injury attorney as soon as possible after such an incident. An attorney can advise you on the possibility of seeking compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit could name the pool owner, property manager, lifeguard, or other responsible parties as defendants.

    The goal of such a lawsuit is to hold negligent parties accountable for pool safety hazards or lack of supervision that may have caused or contributed to the drowning. A successful case can lead to the recovery of damages related to funeral costs, lost future earnings, loss of companionship, and more. An attorney can guide you on the strength of your case and the evidence needed to demonstrate negligence.

    It is crucial to act promptly in investigating the incident, preserving evidence, and reviewing legal options. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is limited, so beginning the legal process in a timely manner is essential. An attorney can take care of collecting police reports, witness statements, medical examiner findings, and other evidence while you focus on your family during this difficult time.

    While no amount of money can ever make up for the tragic loss of a beloved child, holding responsible parties legally accountable can provide a sense of justice for families.

    What does the process for pursuing legal action after a child drowning incident look like?

    The first step would be to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding your child's tragic drowning. This would include a review of the police reports, medical examiner findings, and any other available evidence to build a timeline and determine what went wrong.

    It will be important to Identify potential points of negligence, such as lack of proper fencing around the pool, absence of lifeguards, failure to follow safety protocols, etc. Expert witnesses would need to be consulted to establish proper standards of care that should have been followed. Evidence would be gathered through requests for documents, interviews with witnesses, and site inspections.

    If the findings showed valid grounds for a lawsuit, your attorney would determine all potentially liable parties and file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit would outline the ways in which the defendants acted negligently and it would request financial compensation for your damages.

    The litigation process can be lengthy, but your attorney would be with you each step of the way. If it were my case, I would participate in settlement negotiations if the defendant aims to resolve the case out of court. If not, we would proceed to trial, where I would passionately argue before a jury on your behalf.

    Expert witnesses would testify and evidence would be presented to demonstrate the ways the defendants failed your child. You and other loved ones would likely take the stand to share the heartbreak this tragedy has caused. The jury would ultimately decide if negligence occurred and determine damage amounts.

    You have rights, and your attorney would stand by your side fighting to uphold them.

    Drowning statistics and prevention

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning deaths are the leading cause of death for young children in the United States. Unfortunately, most fatal drowning victims are children aged 1-4.

    Here are statistics related to child drownings in the United States, including recent 2022 data:

    • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1-4 in the U.S.

    • On average, nearly 800 U.S. children under the age of 15 die from drowning each year.

    • More than 6,700 children suffer from drowning injuries and require emergency room care annually.

    • Drowning risk peaks between ages 1-4, with most incidents occurring in residential swimming pools.

    • Male children are more likely to fatally drown than females at a ratio of nearly 2:1.

    • In 2022, at least 273 children under the age of 15 drowned in U.S. pools and spas between January and July. This represents a 17% increase compared to the same period in 2021.

    • African American children ages 10-14 drowned at a rate up to 10 times higher compared to white children in the U.S. as recently as 2019.

    •Lack of proper fencing, barriers, and supervision contribute significantly to child drownings in residential pools.

    These sobering statistics demonstrate the magnitude of this public health problem. By raising awareness and holding negligent parties accountable, we hope to prevent similar tragedies from impacting more families. Please reach out for legal guidance during this difficult time.

    Practicing water safety

    Practicing water safety is crucial, especially when spending time near water, whether it's at a public pool or a natural body of water. Vigilance is essential, particularly when children are involved, as accidents can happen even in shallow areas. Always ensure that life jackets are readily available, especially when swimming in the deep end, and encourage their use, especially for inexperienced swimmers. Pool fencing is another vital safety measure, as it helps prevent unauthorized access to pools and bodies of water, reducing the risk of accidents.

    Prioritizing water safety is not only responsible but can save lives and ensure that everyone can enjoy their aquatic activities with peace of mind. Below are important tips on how to prevent child drownings and keep kids safe around pools:

    • Install proper fencing with self-latching gates completely surrounding the pool. Fencing should be at least 4 feet high.

    • Ensure all doors and windows leading to the pool area have alarms. Also consider motion sensor alarms on the pool itself.

    • Never leave a child unattended near a pool, even for a moment. Assign an adult “water watcher” to closely supervise whenever kids are in the pool.

    • Learn CPR and keep life-saving equipment poolside. Post emergency numbers clearly for quick access.

    • Enroll children in swim lessons starting around age 1. However, lessons do not replace the need for constant supervision.

    • Install anti-entrapment drain covers and suction-limiting vent systems to prevent accidents.

    • Ensure pool chemicals and equipment are securely stored, locked up and inaccessible to kids.

    • Check that pool visibility underneath the water is clear. Cloudy water impedes seeing swimmers in distress.

    • Remove all toys from the pool and surrounding area after use so children aren’t tempted to reach for them.

    • Establish and enforce rules such as no running around the pool, no diving in shallow areas, etc.

    • Never allow children to swim alone or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    Staying vigilant, establishing multiple safety layers, and properly supervising children around water are key to preventing heartbreaking drownings.

    In the event of a near-drowning incident involving a child, it is crucial to immediately call 911 for first responders, such as paramedics and the police department, to assess the situation and provide appropriate medical care to minimize the risk of brain damage, which can occur even after the incident due to conditions like dry drowning.

    The role of insurance companies

    Unfortunately insurance companies will often employ unfair tactics to limit payouts on drowning and wrongful death claims. However, an experienced attorney can help you avoid these frustrating situations:

    • They may pressure grieving families into accepting quick, lowball settlements before conducting a full investigation. A lawyer will take time to build the strongest case before negotiations.

    • Adjusters may try to collect recorded statements that could be used against you or attribute partial blame to the parents to reduce liability. Your attorney will protect your interests.

    • Insurance providers might claim the child had underlying conditions or pre-existing risks that contributed to the drowning. Your lawyer will refute this using medical evidence.

    • They may argue parents were negligent in their supervision despite obvious hazards on the property. An attorney will outline the responsibility falls on the landowner.

    • Companies could deny liability entirely, forcing a lawsuit. Your lawyer has the resources and courtroom skills to build a compelling wrongful death case.

    • Adjusters often exploit families' grief and urgency for help with funeral costs. Experienced attorneys ensure you receive full, fair compensation.

    Having a fierce negotiator and legal expert on your side levels the playing field with insurers and secures the maximum recovery possible. Do not let companies take advantage at this vulnerable time - consult an experienced personal injury attorney first that can protect your rights and fight for the justice your child deserves.

    Losing a child in a drowning incident is devastating, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through seeking justice. Here is how hiring the right lawyer can help as well as tips for finding one:

    An attorney thoroughly investigates how the drowning occurred, gathers evidence and identifies all liable parties. They handle the legal process from start to finish so you can focus on grieving.

    They determine what compensation you may be entitled to, including coverage of funeral costs, loss of future income, loss of companionship and more. An experienced lawyer maximizes your settlement or court award.

    A dedicated attorney fights passionately on your behalf, skillfully negotiating with insurance companies or tirelessly arguing your case in court if needed. Their legal expertise strengthens your case.

    Your attorney can connect you to counseling, support groups, and other resources you and your family may need during the difficult grieving process after losing a child.

    To find the right Illinois personal injury attorney after a drowning, look for someone experienced specifically in wrongful death cases with a proven record of success. Meet with the lawyer before choosing one you trust and feel comfortable with.

    Ask questions about their experience, strategy for your case, what they think you could recover and their accessibility throughout the process. Choose a responsive attorney dedicated to advocating for grieving families.

    Don’t go through this alone. The right attorney has the compassion, resources and legal experience to help you seek justice after losing your precious child.

    Remember that the attorney-client relationship is built on trust, and your attorney should be your advocate, working diligently to protect your interests. Take your time in selecting the right attorney for your drowning case, and don't hesitate to ask questions during the initial consultation to ensure a good fit. With the right legal representation, you can pursue your case with confidence and maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. I hope this information provides a starting point as you determine your next steps after such a heartbreaking tragedy.

    Please do not hesitate to contact my office (630)684-2332 for a free consultation if you wish to discuss your legal options and rights in greater depth. We welcome you to visit our website at Sending thoughts of comfort and peace during this impossible time of grief.


    Mario Palermo is the Founder and Lead Attorney at Palermo Law Group in Oak Brook, Illinois. For the past 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to help injury victims and their families in their times of need. He is a seasoned authority on civil litigation, and also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious group of trial lawyers who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Palermo has been named a “Leading Lawyer” by his peers in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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