Yakima Area Attorney Discusses the Dangers of Drowning Accidents

The official start of summer in the Yakima area brings families out to enjoy the numerous water-related activities available in the area. Children who are out of school for the summer race to the nearest swimming pool, lake, or beach to dive into the water and get away from the heat. Summer should be a time for everyone to cut loose and enjoy a break from the cool, damp, Washington winter months; however, summer also brings with it the risk of water-related accidents and injuries.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), throughout the country there are 3,500 unintentional fatal drowning accidents each year that are not boating-related. That means that an average of 10 people die each day from a drowning accident. Another 350 people die each year from boating accidents. Sadly, children are at the highest risk for a drowning accident. One in five fatal drowning victims is a child under the age of 14, and each year many more children under the age of 14 require emergency care for a non-fatal drowning incident. In fact, more than 50 percent of the people treated for a drowning accident require hospitalization and/or extended care due to the severity of the injuries suffered in the accident.

Drowning Injuries

Even if a drowning incident does not lead to death, the victim can suffer serious, long-term injuries as a result of the accident. The human body can go only a short period of time without oxygen before permanent damage begins to occur. When a person is submerged in water and is unable to get the oxygen needed to sustain life, his or her internal organs start to run out of oxygen. Most people panic if they think they are going to drown, which only exacerbates the problem by using more of the short supply of oxygen left in the body. Carbon dioxide will begin to build up in the system, eventually causing the victim to take in a breath that is nothing but water. The water will then find its way into the lungs, causing death if the victim is not rescued in time. If the victim is pulled out of the water prior to death, the lack of oxygen to vital organs, including the brain, may already have taken a toll and caused permanent injuries.

What Causes Drowning Accidents?

Drowning accidents can be caused by a wide variety of factors; however, there are some common themes. Lack of supervision is at the top of the list of causes. Even children who know how to swim should be monitored when in a pool, lake or ocean. The inability to swim is certainly another factor in drowning accidents. A surprising number of adults do not know how to swim, yet they regularly participate in water-related activities such as boating or fishing. Another frequent cause of drowning accidents is lack of proper barriers. Whether it is a private swimming pool in someone’s backyard, a lake, or the ocean itself, when a small child is able to wonder too close to water, the results can be disastrous.

Who Is At Fault In a Yakima-Area Drowning Accident?

Some drowning accidents are just that — tragic accidents that could not have been prevented. Often, however, the drowning could have been prevented had a proper barrier been erected around the pool, adequate warnings posted, or proper supervision given around the water where the accident took place. An experienced accident attorney can evaluate the facts of a case to determine whether someone was actually liable for a drowning accident.

The accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law handle injury claims in the Yakima area. Contact our legal team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.