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5 Facts to Know About Drowning Accidents at California Park District Pools


Heading down to the park district pool is an ideal way to cool off in the hot California sun, and there are plenty of options in the Bay Area to go for a swim. Unfortunately, the risk of drowning accidents persists regardless of the body of water. Stop Drowning Now, an organization that seeks to prevent accidents through awareness, skills, and education, reports that 3,500 to 4,000 are killed because of drownings every year. It is also estimated that, for every fatality, 5 to 10 people head to the emergency room for treatment of nonfatal drowning injuries.

There are many causes behind drownings, but accidents are more common when the park district is negligent in maintaining the pool. Victims do have rights under California law, but the situation is slightly different when pursuing a government entity. Several factors can make these claims challenging, so it is wise to get help from an Oakland drowning accident attorney. The important points include the following:

  1. You can sue the government. There is a concept called sovereign immunity, which protects the government from being sued. However, lawmakers passed the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), which creates an exception to sovereign immunity. You can file a lawsuit when a government body engages in wrongdoing, such as a negligent park district that failed to prevent a drowning. 
  1. The statute of limitations is short. Most California personal injury cases are subject to a two-year deadline. Claims under CTCA must be initiated within six months after the accident occurred, so quick action is essential. You file by sending an official notice to the relevant park district, instead of suing directly in court. 
  1. Park districts can be accountable under premises liability. Drowning accidents at pools typically occur because the operator was negligent in managing and maintaining the property. An example is failure to fix ladders, not having signs to indicate pool depth, or allowing life-saving equipment to fall into disrepair. 
  1. Liability applies to negligent employees. In some cases, the park district could be accountable for a drowning because of a negligent worker. A lifeguard may have stepped away from their post or failed to stop horseplay in the pool. Through vicarious liability, the employer is liable for the negligent acts of an employee. 
  1. Damages are available to cover your losses. When pursuing a park district under CTCA, there are many types of compensation you can recover. In a nonfatal drowning, you may be entitled to:
  • Medical costs for treatment;
  • Lost wages; and,
  • Pain and suffering.

In a fatal drowning accident, you can pursue a wrongful death case to obtain damages for lost income, support, education, guidance, and other contributions.

 Trust Our Oakland Drowning Accident Lawyers to Guide You

These are important facts to know about pursuing a park district after a drowning, but you can rely on Venardi Zurada, LLP to handle the details. For personalized advice, please contact our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA to set up a no-cost case review. A California drowning accident attorney can explain the process after hearing your story.

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