Drowning Accident Lawyers in Las Cruces, New MexicoLast updated on: June 17, 2022
CALL (800) 863-5312 to talk with one of our Las Cruces drowning accident lawyers for free
There are few accidents as horrendous as an unintentional drowning accident. Drowning accidents are particularly tragic for the family of the victim. While most drowning accidents are fatal, when the victim survives, they will likely need a lifetime of assistance. That’s why it’s important to know Las Cruces drowning accident lawyers in the event of an accident.
Our team of personal injury attorneys can assist you with your legal claim in the event of a drowning accident. We offer free case evaluations and a No Win, No Fee Guarantee. , which means that you pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please call (800) 863-5312 to speak to a Las Cruces drowning accident lawyer today.
New Mexico Drowning Laws
The state of New Mexico has enacted certain legal requirements for those operating swimming pools, spas, or public water recreation facilities. If you or a loved one has a suffered a drowning in Las Cruces, then the following laws may apply:
New Mexico Swimming Pools Statute
The provisions of this section of the New Mexico state code control the design and construction of swimming pools. The imposes legal obligations on the property owner to comply with design and construction laws outlined in the statute. For example, pool owners and operators must have a barrier around the pool that is at least 48 inches above the ground.
Criminal Statutes Against Abandonment or Abuse of a Child
This provision of the New Mexico state code criminalizes the intentional leaving or abandoning of a child whereby the child may suffer neglect. Additionally, that statute provides that should the abandonment result in the child’s death or great bodily harm, the person is guilty of a second-degree felony. Keep in mind that a person who’s held criminally liable may also be subject to civil liability, meaning that your injury claim may still be filed.
In the context of a drowning accident, a person could be found to be grossly negligent if they exhibited a clear disregard for the safety of those with access to a swimming pool. For example, if the property owner was aware of and had time to fix a broken section of the pool fence, but failed to do so, they may be held liable on the theory of gross negligence.
Premises liability is a theory of liability whereby the property owner can be held responsible for any damages arising out of an injury that occurred on their property. In all states, owners of property owe a duty of care to maintain the area to ensure the safety of others. Failure to keep the property safe for visitors results in premises liability claims.
Common Causes of Drowning in Las Cruces
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. Furthermore, the number of nonfatal drowning accidents is nearly double that amount (~22 nonfatal drownings per day). While being around bodies of water increases the chance of drowning for all of us, there are certain factors that make drowning more likely:
Inability to Swim
Not surprisingly, the inability to swim is the number one risk factor associated with drowning. Getting swimming lessons at a young age can significantly decrease the likelihood of drowning. However, according to a National Library of Medicine self-reporting survey, most adults and children either can’t swim or are weak swimmers.
Lack of Barriers Around Water
As previously mentioned, New Mexico state law requires that property owners have barriers around their pools. Barriers can effectively prevent young children from accessing a pool without supervision. Indeed, a lack of barriers preventing access to the water is likely the biggest danger to young children.
Lack of Close Supervision
Parents and supervisors should never leave a child alone near a body of water. Drowning accidents occur in lakes, pools, bathtubs, and even buckets of water. According to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most children drowning victims had been out of sight for five minutes or less while in the care of one or both parents.
Failing to Wear a Life Jacket
Everybody knows that life jackets save lives. For small children, it is crucial that they always have a life jacket on around a body of water. Additionally, for adults engaged in water activities, their chances of surviving a drowning accident are significantly increased by wearing a life jacket. Even the best swimmers will struggle with sudden immersion into water. That’s why it’s important to always wear a life jacket.
Among adolescents and adults, drinking is a major cause of death associated with recreational aquatic activities. In fact, between 30% to 70% of people who drown have traceable amounts of alcohol in their blood. Among the few relevant studies, alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of drowning by 10 times.
Of course, it is entirely possible for multiple factors to have ultimately contributed to the accident. A trained injury lawyer will investigate all the facts in order to determine what may have caused the drowning accident. If you would like to discuss the facts of your case with an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312.
Establishing liability in a Drowning Accident
Because there are so many possible causes of drowning accidents, establishing liability is difficult in most cases. An experienced drowning accident attorney in Las Cruces will be able to assess all the facts and create a legal strategy using the following theories of liability:
A negligence claim requires that the plaintiff prove:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached the duty of care; and
- That the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor causing harm or death.
Examples of accidental drowning negligence:
- Leaving a child outside by a pool
- Lifeguards absent while on duty
- Leaving children unattended in a bathtub
Importantly, negligent supervision is the most common type of claim made in drowning accidents involving children.
Premises liability applies when someone is hurt on someone else’s property. To prove a premises liability case, the plaintiff must prove:
- 1. The defendant owned or controlled the property;
- 2. The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- 3. The plaintiff suffered harm; and
- 4. The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
Examples of premises liability issues:
- A child accessing a pool through a section of fence the owner knew needed to be repaired
- Depth markers for the pool’s deep end accidentally placed at the shallow end of the pool
- No signs warning swimmers of possible dangers
Common premises liability cases involve lack of fencing and warning signs.
Wrongful death applies when the victim died, and their representatives brings the claim on their behalf. Their family or representatives would need to prove:
- 1. The victim died
- 2. The defendant caused the death by negligence or intent to harm;
- 3. Family members are suffering monetary injury from the death; and
- 4. A personal representative is appointed to the decedent’s state.
In New Mexico, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed with a survival cause of action. Simply put, the wrongful death claim can be brought on behalf of the victim’s estate. To discuss these options with an attorney for free call (800) 863-5312.
Caveats to premises liability
As mentioned above, premises liability is a theory of liability that allows for a recovery against the manager or owner of the property where the accident took place. Premises liability claims hinge on whether a duty was owed to the victim at the time of the accident. More specifically, whether the plaintiff was an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser:
An invitee is someone who enters the premises of another in response to an invitation by the owner or occupant for their mutual advantage. The owner of the premises is not an insurer of the invitee’s safety; however, the owner does owe to an invitee the duty to keep the premises reasonably safe.
A licensee is someone who enters the property of another for the owner’s convenience, pleasure, or benefit pursuant to a license. Essentially, a licensee is someone who the owner has allowed – but not necessarily invited – onto his property. For example, police and firefighters are licensees. The owner owes a licensee the duty to warn them of hidden dangers and to refrain from intentionally or recklessly injuring them.
A trespasser is a person who enters the property of another without license or invitation and intrudes to satisfy some purpose of his own. The trespasser’s purpose need not be more definite than to satisfy his own curiosity, for example. As a rule, the property owner will not be responsible for an injury sustained by a trespasser. However, a property owner can be held liable for injuries to a child trespasser if those injuries were caused by an attractive artificial hazard on the landowner’s property.
Pursuing maximum compensation with Las Cruces Drowning Accident Lawyers
After liability is established, attorneys will work to assign damages. Generally, damages are the payment of money by the defendant to the plaintiff for the losses incurred because of the injury.. The more common typeof damages awarded are compensatory damages, and the less common form of damages are punitive damages.
Successful plaintiffs are automatically entitled to compensatory damages. The primary purpose of compensatory damages is to reimburse the plaintiff for the harm suffered. The figure is calculated based on the damage already suffered as well as the likelihood of future suffering. Calculating the value of an injury is not an exact science but the function of the jury is to make sure the level of compensation is fair and adequate.
Whereas successful plaintiffs are entitled to compensatory damages, punitive damages are extremely difficult to establish, and a jury never has to award them. Furthermore, punitive damages are meant to deter future acts of the same nature. The acts that the judiciary is trying to deter are those harmful acts which are particularly reckless.
Get Help from our Las Cruces Drowning Accident Lawyers
After a drowning accident, it is understandable for you to be completely devastated. Our drowning accident lawyers are here for you and your family during this challenging time. A personal injury attorney in Las Cruces can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for your losses.
At Zinda Law Group, we have experience handling drowning accident cases and understand the toll they can take on a victim and their family. Please call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with our Las Cruces Drowning Accident Lawyers today. Plus, you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your injury case. That is our No Win No Fee Guarantee!
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.