A drowning death is a terrible tragedy. Nothing can bring back a loved one, and the emotional trauma cannot be put into words. When a drowning occurs because of the negligence, recklessness, or intentionally wrongful conduct of another person, the law is there to impose liability. Specifically, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed to hold a negligent, reckless, or intentional party responsible for the drowning death of a loved one.
Pool Owners Have a Legal Responsibility to Guests
Wrongful death law has its roots in negligence law. Negligence occurs when a duty owed to another person is breached and results in damages. Duty varies greatly depending on the circumstances and is a factor of the standard of care owed by one human being, business, or institution to another. Perhaps the most common example is the duty of safe driving. All drivers owe a duty of safe driving to other drivers and pedestrians on and near our nation’s roads and highways. Just as duties apply to drivers, so do they to swimming pool owners. When this duty is breached and an injury or death results, legal liability may be rightly imposed.
Swimming Pool Owners Have a Duty to Provide Safe Premises
The legal duty imposed on swimming pool owners applies to both the public and private contexts. Fundamental to this duty is the provision and maintenance of safe premises. However, this duty varies in accordance with who is using the pool – a social guest, customer, or trespasser. Here it is important to use the proper legal terminology.
A social guest is termed a “licensee.” The law imposes a duty on pool owners to warn licensees of any pool dangers that are not obvious to the average person.
An “invitee” is a patron, whether paying or not, of a private pool or a pool that is open to the public. The law imposes a duty on pool owners to do a reasonable job maintaining and fixing the pool so that no invitee is injured.
A “trespasser” accesses the pool premises without permission of the pool owner. The law does not impose a duty of care on pool owners with regard to trespassers, except not to cause them any intentional harm.
A Breach of the Duty of Care by a Pool Owner is Grounds for Liability
If a pool owner breaches the duty of a care owed to a licensee, invitee, or trespasser, and a drowning death results, it is possible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Georgia. The “wrongful death” is the death of the drowned person. Since the victim cannot bring suit against the negligent, reckless, or intentionally bad acting pool owner, the law allows for a claim to be brought by a family member. It is possible to recover compensation for the “full value of the life” of the deceased. If you have lost a loved one to a drowning, contact an experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney.