Maison Law proudly represents drowning accident victims throughout California. We understand how traumatic and devastating they can be–even if you survive. Many drowning accidents in California happen at Lake Tahoe, and our team of drowning accident lawyers can guide you through the legal process of recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation if you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in one of these incidents.
What Do You Need to Do After a Drowning Accident?
Nobody goes to Lake Tahoe and expects to be involved in a drowning accident, but at the same time, the conditions make these accidents unfortunately very common. This makes preparation absolutely critical–especially if one of these accidents happens to you or your family. So, here are a few steps to take in the aftermath:
- Call for help – If someone is drowning, call emergency services immediately. If it’s safe to do so, try to rescue the person, but make sure to do so if you yourself could also drown.
- Provide first aid – If the person is out of the water but unconscious, perform CPR if you’re trained to do so. Stabilize them as best you can until medical help arrives.
- Call authorities – Report the accident to Lake Tahoe’s authorities and management, such as lifeguards, park rangers, or the police, depending on the location of the incident.
- Gather as much information as you can – If you’re directly involved in the accident, gather relevant information, such as the location, time, and circumstances surrounding the incident. This may be helpful for legal or insurance purposes.
- Get medical care – Even if the person appears to be fine initially, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation to check for any hidden injuries or secondary drowning risks.
- Documentation – If possible, take photos of the scene and gather contact information from any witnesses. This documentation may be valuable for insurance claims or your potential legal claims.
- Follow up with doctors – Stay in touch with medical professionals and follow their recommendations for ongoing care or treatment.
Do You Need to Work With Our Lawyers?
It’s true that a drowning accident is tragic. But also, every accident is unique. So, some of the above steps might not apply to your situation. This also applies to whether or not you need a lawyer. While the choice lies with you, you could very well need our lawyers for guidance and support in a drowning accident. Here’s what we can do for you:
- We’ll investigate the cause of the incident and explain your options
- We can help you gather important evidence, from incident reports to medical records
- We’ll talk to witnesses to get their account of events
- We’ll also request any documentation and evidence from Lake Tahoe management regarding the incident
There’s no denying that the legal process after a drowning accident can be challenging, but we strive to make things easier for you and your family. We believe this approach serves both you and us in the best way.
Is Lake Tahoe Liable?
Liability in any drowning accident can be difficult to figure out. At the end of the day, though, it’s going to fall on whoever was negligent. In terms of legality, Lake Tahoe itself has a duty to protect its visitors from potentially hazardous conditions and incidents. While going out on the Lake carries some level of risk, there’s a few ways that Lake Tahoe and its staff could be liable for your injuries in a drowning:
- Failure to warn you – Sometimes, there’s hazards at Lake Tahoe, such as strong currents, sudden drop-offs, or dangerous underwater structures. If management fails to provide adequate warning signs to you and other visitors, Lake Tahoe could have some liability.
- Unsafe conditions – If the lake isn’t kept safe for swimmers or boaters due to problems like poorly placed buoys, missing lifeguards where needed, or neglecting to maintain docks and structures, those in charge could be responsible if accidents happen.
- Negligent supervision – Lake Tahoe is massive, and sits on the border of California and Nevada. As such, parts of the lake are overseen by certain authorities and staff members. But if there’s a drowning accident caused by negligent supervision of lifeguards or some other staff member, the whole Lake Tahoe management could be held liable.
- Improper or failed maintenance – Lake Tahoe is also responsible for the proper maintenance of safety equipment, boats, and other pieces of their property. When these things fail and contribute to a drowning, management could be liable.
While many of the above conditions lead to drownings, there’s other people that could potentially be liable, like:
- Property owners – If someone drowns on private property by the lake, the owner might be responsible if they didn’t properly control access to the water or allowed unsafe conditions.
- Boat operators – If the drowning involves a boat, the person driving it could be at fault if they were careless or didn’t follow safety rules.
- Third parties – Others who played a role in making the area dangerous, like contractors who didn’t maintain safety equipment, could also be responsible.
- Government agencies – If a government body manages the lake and is negligent in its upkeep, they might also share liability for any accidents.
Obviously, when there’s a drowning accident, it’s extremely important to nail down all the liable parties. This is because together, they will be responsible for covering your losses.
Damages in a Drowning Claim
As you can see, a drowning accident at Lake Tahoe presents a unique situation. However, the legal process follows the same steps as any other personal injury claim.
Any claim after a drowning accident is either going to come in an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. The process often starts with an insurance claim and could potentially progress to a lawsuit based on the specifics of your accident. And like any other claim, the ultimate goal is to recover damages from Lake Tahoe and anyone else responsible. In these types of claims, these damages can include:
- Medical expenses, bills, and ongoing care
- Lost wages or earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death expenses, like funeral or burial costs if the accident leads to a death
- Loss of companionship or reduced quality of life in the event of permanent injuries
- Punitive damages, in the event that the accident was caused by intentional negligence
Remember, these damages are just general. What you’re ultimately able to recover is going to depend on the circumstances of your accident, but also how well you present your case. It’s here that our team can be crucial, making sure your claim remains strong and you’re able to get what you’re owed. It’s also important to remember that you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim. Missing this statute of limitations usually means you aren’t able to recover damages.
Drowning Accident Victims at Lake Tahoe Can Count on Maison Law
Being in any type of accident while at Lake Tahoe is scary, but it takes on added significance if there’s a drowning. Most likely, you or a loved one will be facing severe injuries and possibly even a loss of life. At Maison Law, we understand how difficult this can be and we’ll be there to support you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.