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Oakland Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > Family Sues Health Guru Over Accidental Drowning of 17-Year-Old Girl

Family Sues Health Guru Over Accidental Drowning of 17-Year-Old Girl


In August 2022, a 17-year-old girl was found unconscious in the family’s home swimming pool. Attempts to resuscitate the girl were unsuccessful and she died. The official cause of death was ruled an accidental drowning. Toxicology reports indicate that the girl was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the drowning. Instead, the family blames Wim Hof, a health guru who is a proponent of cold plunges in icy water, breathing techniques, and meditation. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hof and his company, Innerfire BV, accusing both of wrongful death related to the drowning of the teenager. According to the lawsuit, the teenager was engaged in dangerous breathing techniques that caused her to pass out while swimming and drown in shallow water.

According to the lawsuit, the “Wim Hof method” asks devotees to complete a series of deep inhales and exhales before holding their breath for an extended period of time. The lawsuit alleges that the teenager had performed the breathing techniques just before her death. The family found evidence that the teenager was an adherent of the Wim Hof Method due to a tab open on her computer. According to the lawsuit, the teenager became hypoxic after completing the breathing exercises and lost consciousness.

Can the health guru be sued for wrongful death? 

The family has filed a negligence lawsuit against Hof and his company. The family is making claims of fraudulent concealment, unfair business practices, and false advertisement against Hof and Innerfire BV. The family claims that the defendant was either aware of or culpably indifferent to potential risks of injury related to the breathing technique. The family is seeking $67 million in damages and also asking the courts to force Hof to post warnings on his website and promotional materials concerning the intrinsic risks of the breathing techniques. This includes a warning that the breathing techniques should never be done in water due to the potential risk of drowning and death.

To prove such a claim, the plaintiffs will need to provide expert witnesses that testify on their behalf. The experts will testify that the breathing techniques could lead to hypoxia which could in turn result in losing consciousness.

Hof is known for promoting himself through the use of stunts such as running up the slopes of Mount Everest in shorts and swimming under the ice sheets of Finland. Hof believes that by placing the body under intentional duress through hyperventilation, breath holds, and exposure to cold, the body becomes more physically and emotionally resilient.

It won’t be hard for the family to find an expert witness who is a doctor to testify that there is an intrinsic danger to the sort of activities that Hof promotes. In this case, an intrinsic risk of passing out due to the stress of hyperventilation can result in injury. The family contends that Innerfire BV failed to warn potential practitioners concerning the loss of consciousness.

Talk to an Oakland, CA Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Venardi Zurada represents the interests of those who have been injured due to another party’s negligence. Call our Oakland personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and learn more about how we can help.



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