When someone dies from an injury or illness because of someone's carelessness or intentional act at a swimming pool, the deceased person's estate and surviving close loved ones can bring an action for wrongful death at a swimming pool. While it is impossible to measure the value of a person's life in dollars, Georgia law has procedures to compensate the estate and survivors for their losses when someone's wrongful act takes away their loved one.
Fatal Injuries or Illnesses That Can Occur at a Swimming Pool
A person can suffer a fatal injury or illness at a swimming pool in several ways. Here are some examples of common pool trauma and harm:
- Complications from near-drowning
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Drain injuries
- Waterborne illnesses
Parties That Can be Liable for a Swimming Pool Wrongful Death
The responsible party in a case of wrongful death at a swimming pool will depend on the unique facts of each case. Sometimes more than one person made a mistake that caused or contributed to the accident or illness. Some of the liable parties can include:
- The swimming pool owner
- The pool manufacturer
- The installer of the swimming pool
- The party responsible for keeping the water safe and clean
- The individual who caused an injury, such as the person whose horseplay resulted in the harm
- A swimmer who got into the water while sick
How to Establish Liability for a Fatal Swimming Pool Injury or Illness
We must prove all four of the following factors to hold someone responsible under a legal theory of negligence for the wrongful death of your loved one:
- Duty of care. The careless party must have owed the decedent a legal duty of care. For example, the owner of a hotel has a duty to make sure that the water in the swimming pool is safe for swimmers and does not contain harmful contaminants.
- Breach of duty. It is negligence when someone violates a legal duty of care. Let's say that the hotel manager did not have the hotel pool cleaned regularly. The manager was negligent for failing to make sure the water in the pool was clean and uncontaminated.
- Causation. Negligence must be what caused harm. If someone inadvertently ingested pool water while swimming and developed a fatal E. coli infection from the tainted water, the manager’s negligence was the cause of the illness.
- Measurable harm. The beneficiaries of the wrongful death action must have sustained damages to go after compensation.
Parties Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Action in Georgia
The decedent's estate and members of the immediate family can sue for wrongful death at a swimming pool in Georgia. When an adult dies because of another party’s negligent actions, the surviving spouse can bring a lawsuit. In the situation of an unmarried adult decedent, any surviving child can file the lawsuit.
When a child dies from the wrongful act of another, that child's surviving spouse or offspring can pursue a wrongful death case. If the deceased child had no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the decedent can file a wrongful death action. The personal representative or the executor or administrator of the estate of the decedent can file the lawsuit if a deceased child leaves no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The decedent's estate can go after compensation for losses that the deceased person could have pursued if he had lived. These damages can include pain and suffering that the decedent experienced from the fatal injury or illness.
The estate can also seek recovery for expenses like the medical bills for the final injury or illness as well as funeral and burial expenses. The law allows the estate to go after these losses to restore the estate’s assets to what they would have been had the wrongful act not occurred.
The Meaning of “Full Value of the Life”
Under Georgia law, qualifying survivors can seek damages for the full value of the decedent's life, to recover what they lost because of the wrongful death. The “full value of the life” covers both economic losses and noneconomic losses.
Economic losses include the income the decedent likely would have earned throughout his working life, without any reduction for the living expenses he would have incurred. Noneconomic losses include things like the loss of companionship and guidance.
How to Get Legal Help for a Wrongful Death at a Swimming Pool Claim
If you think that someone's carelessness or intentional act caused the death of your close loved one, S. Burke Law can help. A premises liability lawyer can evaluate whether you might have a claim for wrongful death.
We handle wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we do not get paid until you get compensation. Our legal fees will come out of the settlement or verdict.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.