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Drowning Accidents at Big Bear Lake in California

At Maison Law, our team of California drowning accident lawyers can represent you in a claim for an incident at Big Bear Lake. With our experience and dedication, we can guide you through the legal process and give you the support you need. Contact us today for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been involved in a drowning accident.

How Can Our Lawyers Help You?

There’s a wide variety of different things to do at Big Bear Lake, most of which are designed around the huge expanse of water in the San Bernardino National Forest. Whether it’s fishing, boating, swimming, or simply enjoying the beautiful views, there’s any number of interactions with water–which can unfortunately lead to drowning accidents. While these types of accidents are most often serious in nature, you may be wondering if you even need a lawyer.

There’s no legal requirement that says you need one, and if the incident is minor, you can probably just report it to Big Bear Lake management and they can take care of it. But most drowning accidents bring uncertainty and are usually fatal. It’s in this situation that our team can help you by:

  • Investigating the cause of the accident and explaining your options
  • Gathering evidence and documentation
  • Figuring out who is responsible
  • Going through Big Bear Lake’s liability insurer for a settlement
  • Evaluating the strength of your claim and deciding if you need to file a lawsuit
  • Making the overall process easier on you and your family


One of the most difficult things about drowning accidents–aside from injuries–is that many different parties can be responsible. In legal terms, a drowning accident is an injury claim, meaning that liability is determined by negligence. In any injury claim, negligence is determined by whoever:

  • Breached their duty of care to keep you safe, causing the drowning the accident and your damages.

While liability ultimately depends on what happened, many potential parties could share this responsibility:

  • Property owners – In cases where someone drowns on private property near the lake, the owner of the property could be liable, especially if they failed to properly control access to the water or allowed hazardous conditions.

  • Big Bear Lake management – The management of the business of the Lake itself could also share liability if the accident happens because of hazards they failed to warn you about or they should have addressed, but didn’t.

  • Boat operators – If a drowning involves a boat, the operator could be at fault if they acted negligently or disregarded safety protocols.

  • Product manufacturers – If manufacturers of products like boat parts, safety equipment, or other things like life jackets can share some of the liability in drowning accidents. Additionally, contractors who neglected safety equipment maintenance, might also hold responsibility.

  • Governments – The county or state government that oversees parts of the lake and demonstrates negligence in maintenance, they could also share liability for any accidents.

Again, there’s many different causes and outcomes in a drowning accident. Figuring out liability is important, but just as important is what you do in the aftermath.

Steps to Take After a Drowning Accident

Even though Big Bear Lake is a lot of fun, there’s always the possibility that you or someone you care about is confronted with a drowning accident. This is extremely unfortunate, but sadly quite common. But in the aftermath of one of these accidents, the steps you take are important to how your potential claim plays out. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Call for help – Call emergency services right away and to be rescued safely. If someone else is involved and out of the water but not breathing, do CPR if you can. Keep them stable until the medics arrive, then let them take over.

  • Report the accident – Let the lake authorities know what happened, whether it’s lifeguards or park rangers. If it’s serious, you may also want to call local police.

  • Collect all the details you can – If you’re involved, try to remember where it happened and what was going on. This helps later with insurance or legal claims.

  • Get checked out – Even if you seem okay, you should be checked by a doctor to make sure there are no hidden problems. This can help with internal injuries.

  • Document the incident and scene – If you can, take pictures or videos of where it happened. And get names and numbers of anyone who saw what happened.

  • Keep in touch with doctors – Stay connected with your doctors to follow up on your health.

Legal Process

In terms of the legal process, a drowning accident is going to follow the same general outline as any other injury claim. Specifically, you can bring one by either:

  • Filing an insurance claim
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

Just who you’re able to file against depends on the circumstances, but our team can provide you with guidance and support you through the process. It’s worth mentioning here that you need to file within California’s statute of limitations for injury claims, which is two years from the date of the accident. Missing this deadline means you can’t bring a claim for all-important damages. In these types of cases, these damages can include: 

  • Costs for medical treatment, bills, and continued care
  • Income lost or potential earnings that were impacted
  • Physical and emotional distress
  • Psychological anguish
  • Expenses related to wrongful death, such as funeral or burial expenses if the incident results in a fatality
  • Diminished companionship or decreased life satisfaction due to lasting injuries
  • Additional damages as punishment if the accident resulted from deliberate negligence

In a drowning, these damages are extremely important to your overall recovery. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure the extent of your injuries are spelled out for an insurance company or a jury.

What Can Happen in a Drowning Accident?

The traumatic nature of a drowning accident is something that sets them apart from other types of accidents. Worse yet, there’s a number of different outcomes in these accidents that can have far-reaching implications for the rest of your life. Here’s what normally happens to victims in these accidents:

  • Long term injuries – While some drowning victims may survive, they usually experience a range of moderate to severe injuries like neurological damage due to lack of oxygen, physical trauma from rescue efforts, or secondary drowning complications.

  • Fatalities – Unfortunately, some drowning incidents result in fatalities, leading to the loss of life and profound grief for your surviving family and loved ones.

  • Emotional trauma – Survivors and witnesses of drowning accidents may experience emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression, which can have long-lasting effects on their mental well-being.

Even with these common outcomes, every drowning accident is unique. So, when you or a loved one are involved, make sure to take every option available to you for recovery. One of the best ways to do that is to work with our team of California drowning accident lawyers.

Contact Maison Law After a Drowning Accident

Being at Big Bear Lake usually means fun times and memories. But it can quickly turn into something much more dangerous when you or someone you’re with begins to drown. At Maison Law, we understand how difficult and challenging these situations are, and can help you with a legal claim. To get started, contact us today for a free consultation.

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