We love water activities in South Carolina—and so do the millions of vacationers who come to our fine state every year. Even people who can’t swim—and this includes young children, who are the most common victims of drownings—are entitled to an expectation of safety when there are lifeguards, fences, life jackets, and other safety measures in place. However, when these safeguards fail, and someone is injured as a result, the negligent party can and should be held liable for the harm they have caused. In South Carolina, there is no stronger advocate for drowning and near-drowning victims than Pracht Injury Lawyers. You might feel like a water accident is your own fault, but don’t be so sure until you have talked to our team.
Who Is Responsible for Water Safety?
This is the important question to answer. Obviously, if you are swimming in the ocean in front of your beachfront rental in Garden City and you get in over your head and aspirate water, there is no one to blame for your injuries. However, if you are on a lifeguarded stretch of Myrtle Beach and a lifeguard failed to rescue your child when they drifted out too far, you might have a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Additional examples of negligence around water include:
- Unsecured pools. A swimming pool, whether it is at a private residence, an apartment or condo complex, or a city park, must be surrounded by a fence with a childproof gate lock. If an unsupervised child is able to get into a pool, the pool owner could be held liable if the child is injured or drowns.
- Poorly maintained pools. Crumbling concrete, defective pool drain covers, unsecured handrails, broken diving boards or slides, and compromised fences or gates could lead to a tragic drowning or severe injury. The pool owner could be held liable for negligence if a pool visitor is injured or killed.
- Distracted lifeguards. Whether at a pool or on the beach, a lifeguard should be completely attentive to swimmers while on duty. Lifeguards should not be expected to perform other duties while guarding and should not be allowed to use cellphones or talk to other employees while on duty. If a tragic accident happens while a lifeguard is distracted, the guard and their employer could be held liable.
- Diving accidents. Head and spinal cord injuries that could result in drowning can be caused by unmarked pool depths and defective diving boards. If pool maintenance is found to have contributed to a diving accident, the pool owner is liable.
- Unmarked danger zones. Beach areas that are not protected by lifeguards should be clearly marked, as should areas that are too dangerous for swimming. Without marking safe boundaries, a beach club or public park could be at fault for drownings that occur off their property.
- Negligent beach patrol. If you are swimming in a beach area that is patrolled by a private company or state officers, you can reasonably assume that they will warn you of danger or rescue you if you are in trouble. If the beach patrol is negligent and you suffer injuries, they could be liable.
- Lack of hazard warnings. Dangerous undertows, rough water, sharks, approaching thunderstorms, and other hazardous conditions should be monitored by beach staff, and appropriate warnings should be issued. If a beach club fails to warn visitors, they could be held accountable for drownings and injuries that occur.
These are just some of the ways a drowning or near-drowning could result from negligence. If you were injured at a pool or beach and aren’t sure if someone else is liable, contact our firm for a free consultation.
What Is a Near-drowning?
The definition of drowning is death through submersion and inhalation of water. But a water accident doesn’t have to be fatal to cause serious harm. A near-drowning is an incident in which a person inhales water into their lungs but survives. The person may or may not lose consciousness. Near-drowning can cause oxygen deprivation and damage to the lungs. Serious injuries caused by a near-drowning include:
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Cardiac arrest
These kinds of injuries could require a lifetime of advanced medical care. When someone else’s negligence caused the injuries, you should not have to pay for that care.
Trust Our Team to Fight for What You Deserve
With unmatched experience in personal injury law and a culture that focuses on providing responsive, compassionate service to our clients, Pracht Injury Lawyers is here for you. Our mission is to use our hearts and our heads to help our clients pursue all of the compensation to which they are entitled. Reach out to our team as soon as you can. We will answer all of your questions and be candid about your options. You have suffered in uncertainty long enough. Get the answers you need now.