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Drowning Accident Lawyer

Miami, Florida

While a drowning accident can be the furthest thing from your mind when you are out swimming with your family, about 11 people die each year from accidental drowning.  In Florida alone, there are approximately 400 drowning accident deaths a year. Although there can be many reasons why a drowning occurs, sometimes drowning accidents are the result of someone else’s negligence

Tragically, in most cases, drowning accidents are fatal. In the event a drowning accident victim does survive, their lives are permanently transformed.  Underwater accidents can cause brain damage as a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. Victims and their families often need to pay for specialists visits and around-the-clock care.  This comes at a significant financial and emotional cost. 

If your child or family member has been involved in a drowning incident caused by someone else's negligence you may be at a loss for what to do next.  Here are some helpful answers to questions that you may have after a loved one has suffered drowning accident injuries.

How Do Drowning Accidents Occur?

Drowning accidents can take place in:



Drowning happens when a liquid covers a person’s mouth and nose, thereby cutting off their oxygen supply. Drowning accidents usually occur quickly and silently, as few people can wave their hands or call for help. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, when the brain is deprived of oxygen for even as little as five minutes, the cells begin to die.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors for drowning include:

  • lack of swimming ability

  • young age

  • access to swimming pools

  • lack of supervision

  • lack of barriers (e.g. fencing around home pools)

  • failing to wear a life jacket

  • having a seizure disorder

  • swimming while under the influence of alcohol

  • injuries sustained from swimming in a body of water

Tips for preventing fatal drowning injuries include:

  • teaching children basic swimming skills

  • supervising children who are in or around water

  • using the buddy system

  • learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

  • wearing a lifejacket when swimming in an open water source

Drowning accident injuries can be fatal even after the initial incident, especially if resulting complications are left untreated. Symptoms that can arise after a drowning rescue may include anxiety, wheezing, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. These can lead to hypothermia, paralysis, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, hypoxia, head and spinal cord injuries, and aspiration of vomit.

The severity of the victim’s drowning injuries depends on the amount of time the person was submerged underwater and was unable to breathe. In many cases, cell damage caused by drowning affects different parts of the brain, also leading to the following physical impairments:

  • Memory loss

  • Difficulty making sound decisions

  • Lack of motor skills

  • Lack of concentration

  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention

  • Cognitive disability

  • Seizures

  • Coma

  • Brain death

When drowning accidents happen, you need the help of an experienced drowning accident lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner our team can begin speaking to witnesses, recreating the scene, and inspecting all the necessary machinery, the stronger your case will be.

Brain Oxygen Deprivation graphic indicating the damage it can do based on time of lack of oxygen.

Who is Responsible for Drowning Accident Injuries?

Liability, or legal responsibility, for a drowning accident can fall upon difference parties dependent on where the drowning occurs, as well as where you live in the United States. Some states have laws regulating liability for deaths that occur on residential, commercial, and government properties.

What are Florida’s pool safety laws?

Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act states that in order for a residential swimming pool to pass final inspection, it must have one of the following safety features:

  • Approved safety cover

  • Every door and window that provides access to the pool must have an exit alarm

  • Surface motion sensors that sound upon unauthorized entry into the pool

  • Pool is isolated from house by enclosure that meets pool barrier requirements

  • Every door that provides access to the pool must have a self-latching and self-closing device with a release mechanism that is a minimum of 54 inches to the floor

Commercial swimming pool owners are held to an even higher standard than residential owners. Commercial pool owners must have all the following safety features:

  • Decks and walkways that are at least four feet wide and slip-resistant

  • There must be a ladder, swim-out, or step for every 75 feet of the pool’s perimeter

  • Anti-entrapment system

  • Self-closing and self-latching fences that are at least 4 feet high

  • Chemicals must be stored in a room that cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons

What are Texas’s pool safety laws?

Texas also requires that pool owners comply with minimum fencing and other requirements to prevent drowning accidents and deaths. If you own a swimming pool in Texas, then you must comply with the following safety requirements:

  • All swimming pools in Texas must have fences surrounding them that are at least 48 inches tall.

  • No swimming pool fence may have a gap at the bottom or vertical fence slats that are big enough to allow a ball that is four inches in diameter to pass through.

  • If a pool fence has both horizontal and vertical slats, all slat attachments must be on the inside of the fence, not the outside.

  • Swimming pool gates must be at least 48 inches tall must be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch located on the inside of the gate. Gates must swing inward, away from the pool.

  • Any doors that lead to swimming pools must be self-closing and self-latching. The door must have a keyless bolting device that is 36 to 48 inches off the floor.

  • If the wall of the house serves as one wall of the pool barrier, the door leading to the pool must be equipped with an alarm that sounds when the door is opened.

  • All above-ground swimming pools must abide by the same fencing and gate rules as in-ground pools in Texas to prevent unauthorized access.

Just like Florida, and many other states, in Texas private swimming pools are classified as attractive nuisances.  This means property owners have a special responsibility to take steps to reduce the risk of harm that the swimming pool could cause, or they could be held liable for injuries suffered by children who enter their property.

Drowning accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and even death. Victims of drowning accidents and their loved ones can bring personal injury claims against negligent pool owners based on premises liability. In order for a victim to prove that a property owner was negligent, each of the following elements must be met:

  • The property owner owed a legal duty of care to the victim;

  • The property owner breached the legal duty of care; and

  • As a result of the breach, the victim suffered damages


The most common at-fault parties in drowning accidents include:

  • Recreational Centers

  • Private & Public Neighborhood Pools

  • Day Camps

  • Hotels

  • Neighborhood Associations

  • Swim Management Companies

  • Private Premises Owners

  • Boat Owners and Operators


It can be challenging to prove that a particular party was at fault in a drowning accident. You will need the help of a top-rated drowning accident lawyer to fight for you. It’s important to ensure your drowning accident lawyer has knowledge of the specific laws in your area, as they can change the outcome of your claim.

About 332 people die each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. Drownings in boating and other watercraft accidents are most likely to occur in coastal states such as Florida, Texas, and California.

If a person suffers fatal drowning injuries after falling overboard, the owner or operator of the watercraft may be held liable for the resulting death. Owners and operators of watercraft could be held liable if the operator was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, or if they failed to have life jackets onboard.

Legal claims for drowning lawsuits include:


Surviving loved ones of drowning victims may sue another party on the grounds of negligence if the defendant is determined to have breached their legal obligations to the drowning victim.

Premises Liability

Premises liability laws dictate the legal obligations of property owners and operators owe to lawful visitors.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death lawsuits apply specifically to drowning incidents that result in fatal consequences.

To file a wrongful death lawsuit for drowning, surviving family members of the victim must be able to prove that:

  • the drowning victim died

  • the victim died as a result of the defendant’s negligence

  • the family members are suffering consequences due to their loved one’s death (e.g. financial burden, pain and suffering)

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Family members or loved ones of the drowning victim may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim.

Family members that can sue for drowning wrongful death include:


  • parents

  • spouses

  • children

  • grandchildren

  • dependent


Laws determining who’s eligible to file a lawsuit for wrongful death vary by state. If you are not a close relative or next of kin to the drowning victim, consult a wrongful death lawyer to determine whether you can file a lawsuit on your deceased loved one’s behalf.

Who is Liable?
Legl Claims

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