The death of a loved one is devastating for the family left behind, and someone drowned as a result of someone else’s negligent actions can makes the death that much more painful.
Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers has represented drowning victims throughout the state of Florida. If your loved one drowned in a preventable, tragic accident, contact us today for a free consultation and wrongful death case evaluation.
Drowning Dangers in Fort Lauderdale:
There’s certainly a lot of water in Florida. We are practically surrounded by it. The ocean, the lakes, the waterways, the pools, and the waterparks are part of the reason our state gets so many visitors. Unfortunately, all of those bodies of water also pose life-threatening dangers for residents and visitors.
The CDC finds that there was an average of 4,012 unintentional drowning deaths occurring each year from 2011 to 2020 in the United States. By the CDC’s evaluation of all states over the past few years, Florida ranked 5th for drowning death rates when considering population. Florida recorded 464 unintentional drownings in 2022. That tragic figure was down only slightly from 2021’s 486 reported incidents.
Data from the Florida Department of Health shows that drowning incidents have remained high in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County in recent years. According to their figures, 46 people lost their lives in drowning incidents in 2022 across Broward County. It’s a shocking number of cases and The Department of Health’s figures don’t even factor in drownings occurring in boating accidents.
We still await 2023’s official Florida drowning figures to determine if these tragic numbers take another scary turn upward.
Do I Need a Lawyer After a Drowning or Near-Drowning?
People must respect Mother Nature and the risks that being out on and around water brings. But swimmers and boaters should also be able to trust that everything possible is being done to keep them safe.
When an owner or operator of a pond, a pool, a beach, or a lake is negligent in their duty to keep visitors safe, they can face liability when someone tragically drowns. Florida empowers the families of victims to file “wrongful death claims” to hold those who contributed to a drowning financially accountable.
Near-drowning victims who end up with major injuries should be able to count on support to pay for their medical care for as long as recovery takes. Families who must grieve the loss of a loved one should be able to count on support to help in the coming years when they won’t have the support the deceased would have provided.
Victims should receive automatic support when someone’s negligence is responsible for an injury or a tragic drowning. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters for at-fault parties will be working to limit the support victims and families receive. They’ll even attempt to blame the victim for what happened.
A Fort Lauderdale Drowning Accident Lawyer protects your rights after a tragic accident. Your lawyer would seek justice for the victim by fully investigating what happened and identifying every party that might bear responsibility for an accident. Your lawyer then demands the most in support possible for your family. Your attorney handles the frustrating battle with unhelpful insurance companies so your family is left in peace to mourn their loss.
Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers fights for families who have had to say goodbye to a loved one due to these types of water accidents and others:
- Drowning accidents at pools
- Drowning accidents at lakes
- Drowning accidents in retention ponds
- Drowning accidents in rivers
- Drowning accidents in creeks
- Drowning Accidents At Fort Lauderdale Beaches
Who is Responsible if My Loved One Drowns?
Some drownings are easily preventable and that’s why negligent owners and operators are held to a legal “duty of care.” They must do everything possible to prevent access to dangerous bodies of water, to provide safety devices, and prevent drownings.
Other mistakes and carelessness can leave water park owners, city parks department, resort owners, landlords, and others liable for any tragic, but preventable accident.
These are just some of the common hazards and the parties who are liable when people get hurt:
- Failure to provide lifeguards or enough lifeguards to prevent drownings.
- Failure to properly train lifeguards and other staff members.
- Failure to maintain a fence and gate to prevent children from reaching ponds and private pools.
- Failure to provide proper safety equipment.
- Overcrowding leading to drownings.
- Boat rental companies renting boats to unsafe boat captains.
- Tour companies that don’t protect tourists from harm while out on the ocean.
- Marina owners responsible for unsafe facilities that lead to falls and drownings.
- Landlords, property management companies, neighborhood associations, and hotel owners that fail to make sure pools are safe.
- Recreational centers and day camp operators using unsafe pools and failing to provide proper supervision.
- Facilities that provide alcohol leading to a deadly mistake in the water.
Pools claim lives every year in Florida. The owners and operators are often found accountable for preventable dangers. A filter malfunction may hold a victim underwater. Mechanical issues might also endanger swimmers.
Property owners and operators must be held accountable when their actions or inaction put people in life-threatening danger. Their lawyers and their insurance companies will try to get them out of having to accept financial responsibility. It’s why you might require experienced legal representation of your own to protect your family’s interests.
Fort Lauderdale Child Drowning Accidents
Unfortunately, water-related deaths are a number one concern for our children. The CDC explains how fatal drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States. It’s also the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 5 to 14, behind motor vehicle crashes.
The Florida Department of Health reports that 8 children (13 years old and younger) were lost in drowning accidents in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County tragedies in 2022. That was down slightly from the year before when 15 children tragically lost their lives in 2021.
Cowen Edwards Child Accident Lawyers strive to offer compassionate legal care to families at such a difficult time. Families who have lost a child to a drowning accident should be allowed time to mourn a heartbreaking loss. We want to handle the fight to earn justice from negligent parties with as little disruption to grieving family members as possible. Our lawyers demand the support families need to rebuild their lives without the help of someone they could always depend on.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Drowning Claim?
Florida requires an executor, also known as a “personal representative,” who represents the estate of the victim to file a wrongful death claim. The executor is usually named in the drowning victim’s will. If an executor is not named, the court will usually name a close family member as a representative.
The executor represents the rest of the family. This person is usually the spouse of the victim or a child of the victim. Those who have the first right to seek support are:
- Spouse of the victim
- Children of the victim
- Parents of the victim
Others who can show they were financially reliant on the victim could also seek compensation, but only after the primary beneficiaries had filed a claim.
Support for Families After a Drowning Death
The loss of a life, young or old, will have a profound impact on a family. A wrongful death claim will need to include a full list of the hardships close relatives have endured since the drowning and could suffer in the future.
These damages include physical, emotional, and financial hardships. Every damage must be included in a claim so that it is considered when determining the size of a check for support. Anything left off could become a financial obligation family members would have to cover.
These are just a few of the factors a family’s lawyer will be holding an at-fault party responsible for:
- Any medical bills built up before the victim passed away.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Any damages suffered by a victim who did not pass away immediately after an accident.
- The lost income while the victim had to miss work up until the time the victim died.
- Estimates on the income the victim would have earned over a lifetime had they lived and the eventual earnings that would have become part of the estate given to the family upon death.
The benefits above could also eventually be granted to family members through the estate. But these are some of the specific awards the survivors of the decedent should expect to receive:
- Support for the loss of care and guidance the deceased would have provided in the years to come.
- The loss of parental companionship and instruction for the children of the victim.
- All emotional trauma suffered by family members.
- The loss of companionship and intimacy suffered by a spouse.
- Support for the years of family experiences parents and siblings have been robbed of after a child’s life is taken.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Two years. Family members must file a drowning wrongful death claim within two years of the accident. However, if you must sue a government department for its negligence the statute of limitations may be much shorter.
What if my family can’t afford a Fort Lauderdale Drowning Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Your family won’t need any upfront money to hire a skilled wrongful death lawyer. Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers doesn’t get paid unless we win your case for your family. Then our fee comes out of the settlement or judgment your family is awarded.
Is my free case consultation confidential?
Yes. At such a difficult time, families deserve as little disruption to their lives as possible. We offer a free case review that is completely confidential. Whether you decide we can help you or not, no one in the public or other family members will know about your consultation.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Drowning Accident Lawyer
Losing a loved one in a drowning incident can leave you and your family feeling very vulnerable. At a time when your family should be allowed to grieve a loved one, they may have to take action to hold an at-fault party responsible and to protect their futures.
When individuals or businesses contribute to the factors that lead to a drowning, a wrongful death claim may be necessary. To find out the level of support your family should secure, contact the Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Lawyers at Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers. We offer a free, confidential case review for all Florida families who have lost a loved one. There’s no obligation for this initial consultation.
If you trust your case to us, our law firm will directly handle the behind-the-scenes investigation and legal work, from start to finish, while you and your family focus on what’s most important, each other.