Drowning Accident Attorneys in Kansas City

Understanding Drowning Accidents, Liability, and Legal Remedies

When it comes to drowning accidents, understanding liability and legal remedies is essential. Before heading out to a lake like the family in this image, ensure you take all safety precautions.

This blog will detail how drowning accidents occur, how people can respond if these accidents happen, and the liability and legal remedies people can explore to recover damages.

Drowning Accidents

Unfortunately, drowning accidents are quite common. According to the American Red Cross, as many as 10 people die from unintentional drowning each day, and on average, 2 of these accidents involve people younger than 14.

An individual can drown in any area with deep-standing water. This typically includes:

  • Public and private pools
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Oceans
  • Ponds

Young children also are at risk of drowning in areas with shallow water. This includes:

  • Bathtubs (bathtubs are the second most common location where young children drown)
  • Buckets
  • Bath seats
  • Cisterns
  • Septic tanks
  • Decorative ponds
  • Toilets
  • Public or private hot tubs

While these accidents can occur because of a person’s inability to swim or other circumstances like severe weather or medical events, drowning accidents frequently happen because of human error.


For example, sometimes, essential safety measures, such as warning signs, fences, lifeguards, etc., are absent, increasing the chances a drowning accident may happen.

The following is not medical advice but information from medical sources concerning how healthcare professionals handle drowning injuries. Consult a medical provider if you or a loved one are involved in a drowning accident.

Symptoms of Drowning

Upon discovering a drowning individual and pulling them from the water, witnesses may notice the person who experienced drowning exhibit any of these following symptoms:

  • Altered mental states immediately after the accident, including anxiousness, drowsiness, unconsciousness, etc.
  • Inability to breathe on one’s own or breathing issues ranging from gasping, vomiting, coughing, wheezing, or shallow breaths.
  • Skin that appears blue.
  • Other drowning symptoms include chest pain, a swollen belly, cold and pale skin, and a cough with pink, frothy sputum.

Types of Drowning Injuries

Generally, drowning results in injuries ranging from mild to fatal and typically involves an individual submerged in liquid, causing breathing trouble or suffocation. A medical evaluation that measures levels of oxygen in the blood can determine if a person has experienced drowning.

Oxygen Deprivation

Oxygen deprivation is the most common injury that occurs because of drowning. If an individual is submerged long enough, they can suffer severe organ damage, including brain injury due to the temporary deprivation of adequate oxygen; this is one type of non-fatal or near-drowning injury. Sadly, sometimes people are submerged in water for too long and die; this is referred to as fatal drowning.

Associated Bodily Injuries

Sometimes, a person may drown after experiencing another type of injury in a body of water. For example, an individual may dive into shallow water, hit their head at the bottom of a pool or on a rock, resulting in other injuries (such as a spinal injury), and experience drowning.

Drowning Injury Complications

Besides possibly experiencing brain damage because of oxygen deprivation from being submerged for too long, there are other drowning complications an individual may experience. For example, if someone inhales foreign particles, they may develop aspiration pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome. A person who has experienced drowning also may experience vocal cord spasms after being removed from the water. This condition is sometimes referred to as dry drowning. People who drown in cold water also may experience hypothermia.

How to Prevent Drowning Accidents

Many drowning accidents can be prevented by recognizing or eliminating drowning risk factors. A few of the more common drowning risk factors include:

  • Infants, toddlers, and children left near deep-standing water without adult supervision
  • Alcohol or drug use near the water or while swimming or boating
  • Medical conditions (seizures, heart attacks, etc.)
  • Unfamiliarity with the body of water
  • Failure to use floatation devices or acknowledge safety signs
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Developmental or behavioral conditions
  • Swimming alone
  • Not knowing how to swim
  • Not knowing basic water safety measures (like CPR)

Those with pools or bodies of water on their personal or private property should also consider installing fencing, using water coverings, and keeping the water area free of hazards to help prevent drowning accidents.

What to Do When a Drowning Accident Occurs

Although an individual may find it challenging to remain calm if they suspect someone is drowning, doing so can ensure that the rescuer does not harm themselves and that the drowning victim does not sustain further harm.

The following information from Mount Sinai and The American College of Emergency Physicians concerns how an individual can respond if they notice someone drowning:

  • Ensure someone calls 911 or goes to get help from a lifeguard. It’s essential to not place one’s self in danger by getting into the water (unless that person has training) as a drowning victim may panic and pull the rescuer under, or the drowning victim may be caught in a strong current or riptide.
  • If possible, grab a flotation device and toss it to the drowning person. An individual also may extend a tree branch or pole to the person, allowing them to catch it.
  • If an individual can recover the drowning person from the water but they are unconscious, tilt their head back, lift their chin, and check for breathing and other signs of life; turn them on their side so they can cough up water.
  • If the drowning victim is not breathing, the rescuer may start CPR (if they are properly trained) and continue until first responders arrive.

If an individual is able to help a drowning victim and recover them from the water, they should move the victim’s neck as little as possible, especially if there is a chance that the victim sustained a neck injury.

Once help arrives, an individual may choose to:

  • Document the accident for the victim.
  • Collect witness contact information for the victim.
  • Suggest the victim call an attorney after they are mentally and physically able to do so.

Drowning Accident Liability

When an individual is involved in a drowning accident that’s caused by the carelessness of someone else, a drowning injury lawyer can use their experience to help defend the victim’s rights. One way a lawyer accomplishes this is through determining who is at fault. The following parties could be responsible for a victim’s drowning accident:

  • Property owners
  • People responsible for the property (landlords, tenants, hosts of an event, or the individuals who invited the injured party to the water)
  • Individuals or entities responsible for creating dangerous conditions (municipalities for failing to maintain the water or allowing hazardous conditions, such as bad pool maintenance, poor dock or boat repair, etc.)
  • Those accountable for posting warning signs
  • Those responsible for ensuring a lifeguard is on duty

Drowning Legal Remedies

Drowning accident lawyers will work with the victim or their family to secure compensation for the damages the accident caused.


Between long-term medical bills and the value of a victim’s pain and suffering, possible loss of life, and lost wages, it is nearly impossible to discern the value of a drowning case without the assistance of a drowning accident attorney. An experienced drowning accident lawyer will ensure all damages are considered and work tirelessly to achieve the best compensation possible.

The Benefits of Working With a Drowning Accident Attorney

The following are a few of the more prominent benefits drowning victims and their families can experience with the help of a drowning accident attorney:

Drowning Accident Attorneys Handle Complex Litigation

Individuals who have suffered drowning are often severely injured, meaning they require a lot of assistance to restore balance in their lives. Because these cases are so complex, they also are hard fought. This increases the need to work with an experienced drowning attorney who has worked on similar cases.

Strong Support

Any serious accident case requires the experience of a team of skilled lawyers and law professionals. Individuals will likely benefit from working with a law firm with experienced attorneys to ensure all aspects of the case are handled.

Substantial Litigation Skills

A drowning accident lawyer should have the knowledge and experience using their law firm’s internal and external resources to uphold a victim’s rights. A person should have confidence that their attorney can litigate their case and be driven to get compensation for their suffering.

Choose a Law Firm That Has Experience Handling Drowning Accidents

The lawyers at Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader understand that your case is your only case. When representing a client or a family after a drowning accident, we devote the time, resources, and experience to achieve the best possible result.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence on the water, you may have a case for a drowning accident lawsuit in Kansas City. Contact our personal injury lawyers today for a consultation at no cost.

The above is not intended to be legal advice. Each case is different and must be analyzed on its own set of facts and circumstances. If you believe you may have a case, it is critically important that you contact a lawyer in a timely manner to ensure your rights are protected.