Part II: The legal ramifications and assignment of blame in drownings

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Personal Injury

When a drowning or near-drowning occurs in Lake Michigan, another body of water or a swimming pool, many people can play a role in this tragic event. Young victims especially rely on the appropriate behavior of adults.

The parents, the operators of a community or private park, the rescuers and the medical professionals all have varying levels of responsibilities and potential culpabilities. Negligence by any of these parties could result in a lawsuit.

An illustrative case

The Chicago Tribune reported on an Illinois court case that involved the drowning death of a 6-year-old boy. Though the incident happened in 2014, the appeals process finished in 2020, awarding an $18.5 million verdict to the plaintiffs. The boy drowned in a pool at a park district summer camp.

Relevant details of the case include the fact that camp officials listed the boy as a non-swimmer. This categorization required him to wear floatation devices when in the pool. Testimony presented at the trial suggested the park district failed in its duties to protect the child.

Furthermore, the judgment of the court stated that the park district engaged in willful and wanton actions. The defendants argued that actions did not rise to the level of willful and wanton, resulting in an excessive verdict. The appellate panel rejected this argument, stating that the child’s family suffered a devastating loss.

A challenging situation

Drownings and near-drownings of children remain complicated situations, and lawsuits in these cases hinge on the negligence of involved parties. Because of the tragic deaths and serious brain injuries associated with water accidents, the courts must take into account many factors in the case of legal action.


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