The Common Types Of Wrongful Death Cases In Texas
Interviewer: What are the most common types of wrongful death cases?
Stephen Boutros: The most common types of wrongful death cases arise out of motor vehicle collisions. Obviously, it’s rare for children to survive drowning accidents because they happen so quickly. It’s rare that a child is going to survive more than three or four minutes after being submerged and his lungs are filled with water. If he does survive, usually that child is going to have long-term traumatic brain injury from the brain being deprived of oxygen for that period of time. There’s a multitude of ways that kids can drown that aren’t just limited to swimming pools.
Accidental Deaths that Occur Due to Negligence Normally Result in Wrongful Death Cases
We recently handled a case where a family had rented a river home in the Central Texas area and the boy was in the water when his father was lowering a boatlift which was wired negligently. It sent an electrical current into the water, shocked his son and his son went to the bottom of the river. The father dove in frantically searching for his son’s body but beneath a couple of feet, his vision was terribly flouted. He finally found his son after being submerged for about three minutes and he pulled him and transported him to an emergency room in San Antonio. He survived but he suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
The Boatlift Was Negligently Wired which Cause an Electric Current Through the Water
Interviewer: How was this caused? How was the electrical current in the water?
Stephen Boutros: His father was lowering a boatlift that had been negligently wired and it wasn’t properly grounded. So, when the boatlift hit the water, it sent an electrical current through the water and water made a conduit for electricity. It shocked the boy and he lost consciousness and went to the bottom of the river. There are many other drowning cases that we’ve handled involving swimming pools. They are usually suction defects where kids get attached to a train because of a suction defect and improper supervision from lifeguards or parents or adults that are supposed to be supervising.
Children Often Drown in Swimming Pools Due to Improper Supervision by Lifeguards
The tragic thing about drowning cases is they happen so quickly, the damage occurs in such a small amount of time. People who have the duty to supervise the children have to be vigilant. Another type of case that we’ve handled involves water parks. A lot of times, these water parks hire teenagers to act as lifeguards or supervisors who are more interested in checking text messages and playing with their cell phones and flirting with the other lifeguards than they’re in actually supervising the children. So we’ve handled several cases involving catastrophic injuries to children in water parks due to being improperly supervised by lifeguards.
Drowning Incidents May Also Occur in Hotels or Apartment Complexes
Interviewer: Have you ever seen one of these occur also in hotel or apartment complexes as well?
Stephen Boutros: We have. A lot of times, in hotels when pools aren’t properly cleaned and aren’t properly maintained, it becomes a vision issue. Children go in the water and an incident occurs where they lose consciousness or they swallow or they drown and if the water isn’t clean and properly maintained, then it’s difficult to locate the child. Pools have to be properly maintained with proper safety equipment with suction proof drains. They have to be properly maintained and the water needs to be cleaned and there should be adult supervision along with the lifeguards on-duty.
It is the Responsibility of Hotels To Properly Supervise and Maintain Swimming Pools
If you’re going to advertise that you have a pool because you want to attract guests and their children use the pool, then it becomes your duty to properly supervise and maintain the pool. Another thing is that you should have safety gates because children are going to be attracted to water and parents can become distracted and their child may attempt to get into the water. Again it happens so quickly but if you have a proper gate with a locking mechanism that children can’t unlock, then that’s a safety mechanism that helps keep children safe.