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What You Need to Know About Drowning


With the summer months upon us, an increasing number of people will be enjoying time at the beach, at the lake, and at the pool. Every year in the United States, about 3,500 people die from drowning. Indeed, drowning represents the third most common cause of accidental death in the United States each year.

The proportional rate of drowning in Texas runs higher than the U.S. average, in part because of the state’s extensive shoreline and milder climate permitting outdoor recreation during a more significant part of the year. In fact, in Texas, the leading cause of death among children under four years of age is drowning. (This does include drowning while in a bathtub, but also in pools, often pools not properly secured.)

Five Most Common Causes of Accidental Drowning

The most common causes of drowning in Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, include lack of proper barriers around a pool and lack of proper supervision. More often than not, these types of cases involve children who end up drowning. The other three most common causes of drowning are the lack of proper swimming ability, failure to wear an appropriate lifejacket, and alcohol use.

The Danger of Dry Drowning or Secondary Drowning

A medical evaluation following a near-drowning incident is always advisable. Each year, about 2 percent of deaths attributed to dry or secondary drowning occur in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Dry or Secondary drowning occurs when a person takes a small amount of water into his or her lungs. Secondary Drowning often happens in a near drowning incident.

An individual can seem “normal” and to have recovered from the event. However, even after seeming to be doing fine after a near drowning event, a person ultimately starts having breathing trouble. If left untreated, dry or secondary drowning can result in brain damage and even death.

Drowning and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Texas, if you lose a family member in a drowning incident caused by the negligence of some other party, you may have the legal right to bring what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. A spouse, child, or parent of a person who dies by drowning caused by someone else’s negligence may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

In Texas, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of your family member’s death. The failure to make this deadline can result in you being precluded permanently from pursuing a lawsuit regarding the drowning death of your family member.

Mayo Clinic: http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20140602/dry-drowning-faq#1

Medicine Net: http://www.medicinenet.com/drowning/article.htm

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

Lone Star Lifesavers: http://lonestarlifesavers.org/facts-about-drowning