Handling Cases Nationwide
When most people consider drowning incidents and near-drowning accidents, they might automatically assume that these tragedies are limited to the summer months. While it is true that a considerable number of drownings and near-drownings occur during the summer, these tragedies can also occur during winter months when someone falls through thin ice and sinks. If a swift rescue is not accomplished, the victim can easily suffer hypothermia and drown in a few minutes. Even if the victim is pulled to safety before he or she drowns, without prompt medical attention, he or she might still succumb to other ailments and conditions.
Sometimes a child or adult falling through thin ice is a terrible tragedy for which no one can truly be held accountable. But on other occasions there may be one or more people whose actions contributed to the incident. These people may be held responsible for your or your loved one’s medical expenses and other losses.
Why Are Frozen Lakes and Ponds Dangerous?
Ponds and lakes will often freeze over in the wintertime. Even though the ice may appear solid on top of a lake or pond, a number of factors (like water temperature, exposure to sun, etc.) can make the ice at any given point on the water a different thickness than at other points. Thus, even if appears to be safe to walk on one part of the ice, that, in and of itself, is no guarantee that other parts of the ice will also be safe to traverse.
How Can Someone Else Be Responsible for an Ice Drowning?
Some ponds and small lakes are owned by private individuals. The law imposes a duty upon private property owners to make their properties reasonably safe for individuals who are on their property legally or to conduct business. This usually means that the property owner has a duty to fix those hazardous conditions that can be fixed (wet floors and exposed wiring) and to warn visitors of dangerous that exist that cannot be fixed (thin ice, for example).
In the case of water on the property, the law recognizes that pools, ponds, and lakes can be a particularly “attractive nuisance” that encourages children to come and play in and around these bodies of water. Therefore, property owners who have such a pool, pond, or lake on their property must typically take additional steps to prevent children from accessing the body of water. These steps can include posting signs to warn of the danger and erecting a suitable fence designed to prevent children from reaching the water.
If a private pond or lake freezes over and the property owner takes no measures to at least warn people of the danger of thin ice or to prevent children from walking out onto the lake or pond, that person may be responsible for contributing to any drowning or near-drowning that occurs.
In addition, if your child was being supervised by someone else (a neighbor or babysitter, for instance), he or she may be responsible for compensating you and your family if it is shown that he or she was distracted or otherwise not properly watching your child.
Contact Us for Help
At Zinda Law Group, we know that no amount of compensation can undo injuries or bring back a deceased loved one. However, an ice drowning lawsuit can be used to not only obtain monetary compensation to pay for medical bills and funeral expenses but it can also be used as a means to encourage property owners to take additional steps to protect others and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Contact our office at (800) 863-5312 to learn how filing an ice drowning lawsuit may be right for you and your family.