CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A MIAMI WATER INJURY LAWYER TODAY
Water injuries such as drowning can occur on beaches, in pools, at water parks. When these injuries happen, the consequences can be severe or even fatal. If the accident was caused by the fault of another, the victim may be able to enforce his or her legal rights to pursue compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a water-related injury and are interested in filing a claim, or to learn more about potential remedies that may be available to you, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Miami water injury lawyers today.
WHAT IS A WATER INJURY?
A water injury is what the name implies. It is any type of injury involving water or a body of water. Water injuries may include events such as:
- Boat accidents
- Scuba diving accidents
- Water park accidents
- Child drownings
- Pool accidents
- And more
WATER-RELATED INJURY STATISTICS
- From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
- About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.
- Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.
- In 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports for 4,604 boating incidents; 3,153 boaters were reported injured, and 672 died. Of those deaths, 72% were caused by drowning, with 88% of victims not wearing life jackets.
- More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries).
WATER INJURY RISK FACTORS
Failure to Supervise
Young children and inexperienced swimmers are particularly at risk of suffering water-related injuries. Failure to properly supervise and take other similar precautions can lead to injury.
Failure to Wear Proper Safety Equipment
Many boating, scuba diving, and water park injuries occur as a direct consequence of a person’s failure to wear proper safety equipment. For instance, an inexperienced swimmer may drown while swimming at the beach for failure to wear a safety jacket.
Lack of Barriers
Lack of barriers refers to the absence of fences, gates, or other obstructions that serve to prevent a person from accessing a certain area. Lack of barriers is particularly notable when it comes to young children. Failure to fence a pool or other water hazard can lead to children gaining access to a pool without proper supervision.
Alcohol use impairs a person’s coordination, reflexes, and decision-making. These factors can combine to cause serious damage or injury around water. In fact, with respect to adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation.
TIPS FOR HANDLING A WATER RELATED ACCIDENT
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Water injuries have the potential to be severe and can cause permanent damage to a person’s brain or other internal organs. Thus, seeking prompt medical attention is the first and most important step to take following any type of water-related injury.
Document as Much as Possible
Water injury victims can put themselves, and any potential claims they may have, in a better position by keeping close track of all items related to the accident. Thus, it is important to “document” the accident by creating a thorough record of the incident. Properly documenting the accident may require you to keep important items such as:
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Photographs of your injuries
- Witness statements
- Accident reports
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation bills
Do Not Admit Fault or Make Any Statement About the Accident
Personal injury victims often inadvertently forfeit some or all of their legal rights simply by admitting that they were partially at fault for the accident. For instance, a person that was injured at a water park may admit to a manager that the accident could have been avoided if he had been wearing a flotation device. such admissions may diminish or destroy the value of a claim. Thus, be careful to never admit fault or make any statement regarding the accident.
Beware of Insurance Companies
After a water accident, the insurer of the at-fault party may contact the victim to learn more about the accident. During these communications, the insurance company may encourage or steer the victim into admitting fault. The insurance company may also try to settle the claim for less than its actual value. It is important to remember that an injury victim has the right to refuse to speak with the other insurance company until legal advice has been obtained from an attorney.
Contact a Water Injury Attorney
The best way to protect your rights following an accident is to consult with an experienced Miami water accident lawyer. In addition to ensuring that a claim is timely filed, a water accident lawyer may also act on your behalf by negotiating a favorable settlement offer with an insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney may litigate the claim on your behalf.
WATER INJURY LIABILITY
Determining who, if anybody, can be held liable following a water injury is an important question to consider following an accident. Answering this question requires a careful analysis of several factors such as where the accident took place, what parties were involved in the accident, who owned the property in question, whether the accident was reasonably avoidable, the proportionate level of fault attributable to the participants, and whether any alcohol or drugs were involved.
Many water injury cases will be determined through a negligence standard. Under this theory, the water injury victim must establish the following elements:
- The alleged at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim
- The alleged at-fault party failed to meet (or breached) that duty
- The victim’s injuries were a direct and proximate cause of the alleged at-fault party’s breach
When these elements are established, the alleged at-fault party may nevertheless be able to avoid some or all liability by showing that the victim could have avoided some or all of the injuries suffered by acting reasonably.
Consulting with an experienced water accident attorney may provide you with an opportunity to get a direct and explanation of water injury liability under Florida law. After a consultation, the attorney may be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you decide whether investing in legal action is appropriate for you.
WATER INJURY COMPENSATION
If a water injury victim is successful in bringing a claim against another party, the victim may be entitled to monetary compensation in the form of damages. The damages that may be awarded to a water injury victim can be separated into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reflect the quantifiable costs incurred by a water injury victim following an accident. Types of economic damages that may be awarded to a water injury victim can include:
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are the class of damages that reflect intangible, subjective costs incurred by a water injury victim. Types of non-economic damages in a water injury lawsuit may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
UNDERSTANDING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
A “statute of limitations” is a legal time-limit with which a water accident victim must file a claim following an accident. Failure to file a timely claim may lead to forfeiture of some or all legal rights. Thus, it is critical to keep a close eye on the timeline of the case.
In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Generally, this includes most water-related injuries. Thus, a water injury accident victim must file a lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident.
Because the statute of limitations is a critical consideration that must be taken into account for every personal injury claim, it is important to consider seeking the advice of an experienced water injury lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. A Miami water injury lawyer may provide you with legal advice regarding the status and viability of your claim.
ZINDA LAW GROUP IS HERE TO HELP PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
At Zinda Law Group, our Miami water injury lawyers have the experience necessary to help you protect your rights following an accident. We also have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art resources to support your claim. While our clients recover from their injuries, we work tirelessly to assist them in seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case.