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Drowning Case

Is Someone Else Responsible for Your Child’s Drowning Accident?

Swimming is a popular summer activity for kids in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But be aware: the risk of drowning exists whether you’re on a beach or at a public swimming pool. While many people attempt to chalk up drowning as a tragic accident, there are many cases in which someone else’s negligence, carelessness, and failure to take action directly caused or contributed to a child’s drowning. Here’s what you should know if your child was harmed in the water.

Who Was in Charge When Your Child Drowned?

The first factor to consider in any drowning case is who was in charge – or should have been in charge – when your child drowned. It is a common misconception that there is no one responsible for drowning or near-drowning accidents at lakes and beaches. In fact, many beaches have patrols or lifeguards who may be held liable if a child drowns on their watch. It’s critical to evaluate who was or should have been monitoring children in the water if your child drowned or almost drowned at a:

  • Pool
  • Lake
  • Beach
  • Amusement park
  • Hotel
  • Cruise ship
  • Private residence

If it can be proven that someone who was or should have been in charge was negligent and their actions or failure to take action harmed your child, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them or the facility they’re employed by for damages.

What If No One Was in Charge?

Sometimes, swimming is truly “at your own risk,” especially at public beaches or lakes where no assigned lifeguard is present. However, does this mean that you have no legal recourse if your child died or was injured in a body of water? Not necessarily. The circumstances surrounding your child’s drowning need to be carefully evaluated. Drownings may also be caused by:

  • Malfunctioning watercraft
  • Negligent swimmers who are not paying attention to others in the water
  • Failure to provide warning signs to indicate rough waters or dangerous swimming areas

Reach Out to an Attorney Today

Many people whose children were harmed in the water are surprised to realize that another person or entity’s carelessness caused or contributed to the drowning accident. However, it is impossible to know for certain whether or not someone can be held legally liable for the damages your family has suffered without first contacting an experienced attorney.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have significant experience working with child injury and understand the emotional turmoil you and your loved ones are going through. Whether your child was the victim of a drowning or near-drowning, it’s something that is both devastating and life-altering.

We can help evaluate the evidence in your case and determine who may be responsible for the accident that harmed your child. Contact the Law Offices of Mazow | McCullough, PC today for more information by calling 855-693-9084.

Who’s at fault in a dog bite attack?

There are two potential parties that are at fault in a dog bite case. The first is the owner of the dog, and the second is the person that is in control of the dog at the time of the dog bite attack. The person that is in control of the dog could be somebody that is walking the dog for monetary or non-monetary purpose. Both those parties, the owner and the person that is in control of the dog, are potently responsible for that dog’s bite.

Contact a Boston Dog Bite Lawyer

My name is Robert Mazow. I am a partner at Mazow McCullough. If you have been hurt or a family member has been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, call us.  The right lawyer makes all the difference.

Swimming Pool Safety is Key

With the summer in full swing, more and more people find themselves trying to find a way to visit a pool.  Sometimes this pool is the local municipalities, in which case there is a lifeguard on duty to help monitor and protect those who visit it; just as often it may be at a friend’s house, or a friend of a friend who has opened up their home to people seeking to get out of the heat.

Swimming Pool Injuries and Fatalities

There is an unfortunate reality about backyard swimming pools however.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission 2010 Pool and Spa Submersion Report found that the overwhelming majority of Emergency Department visits treating submersion injuries and reported fatalities were associated with pools.  For victims under five years of age, residential locations were the predominant location of the incident.  Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14.

With recent news of several young children drowning it is more important than ever that parents, caregivers, and pool owners remain vigilant when children are anywhere near the pool.  This website has a variety of valuable resources to educate both adults and children about pool safety.

If you have been, or know someone who has been injured or suffered a wrongful death because of a drowning incident, please contact the law offices of Mazow and McCullough in Salem, Massachusetts.  We will help you understand your rights.

Another Unnecessary Drowning in Massachusetts

Robert Mazow, who specializes in drowning lawsuits, was recently quoted in the Boston Herald in response to the drowning of 36 year old Marie Joseph.  Ms. Joseph drowned in a public swimming pool in Fall River, Massachusetts, where there were allegedly 6 lifeguards on duty.  Supposedly a young boy saw her go under the water and notified two lifeguards.  One of the lifeguards allegedly said that he was on his break and the other lifeguard said that he would check the pool.  Ms. Joseph’s body was found two days later.  State Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward M. Lambert Jr., whose agency runs the pool where the body of 36-year-old Marie Joseph was discovered by two trespassers Tuesday night, could not say whether any lifeguards ever looked for her.

Attorney Mazow was contacted by a reporter from the Boston Herald to provide some insight into what potential liability employees of the State run pool might have:

“Personal injury attorney Robert Mazow, who specializes in drowning lawsuits, said even if the pool staff is found to be negligent, the state could not be penalized heavily by a jury if Joseph’s relatives sue.

“Even in the most egregious acts, such as this one, if you can prove that a lifeguard completely was derelict in their duties… the family is likely limited to the $100,000 (state) cap,” the Salem lawyer said.

Even if this turns out to be a case of negligence, the unfortunate truth is that the lifeguards and those responsible for the maintenance of the pool might only be responsible for up to $100,000 of compensation for Marie Joseph’s wrongful death.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Massachusetts

If you have any questions regarding a drowning incident or wrongful death, please contact the law offices of Mazow and McCullough in Salem, Massachusetts.

Mazow|McCullough, PC Files Drowning Lawsuit

Against CampGroup, LLC, Lakeside Retreats, LLC and Town of Easton as a Result of Teen Drowning Death

This action ensued as a result of the drowning death of a 15-year-old boy and the physical and emotional injuries sustained by his twin brother.  The client and the brother were students at the Town of Easton’s Oliver Ames High School (“OAHS”) and joined the OAHS football team on a pre-season trip to Camp Cobbossee in Monmouth, Maine, on August 22, 2007.

Following football practice on August 23, 2007, the client drowned in the lake at the camp.  The brother, who was also in the lake and witnessed the drowning, suffered physical and emotional injuries as a result.  A lawsuit was brought against CampGroup, LLC, and Lakeside Retreats, LLC, the owner and operator of Camp Cobbossee, as well as against the Town of Easton (“Easton”).  The lawsuit is pending in Bristol Superior Court in Massachusetts.

Details of the Drowning Case

On August 22, 2007, the client, the brother and the OAHS football team traveled by bus to Camp Cobbossee.  On the morning of August 23, 2007, the upperclassmen, including the brother and the client, participated in a three-hour football practice.  At approximately 11:30 a.m., the client and the brother went to the waterfront.  The camp provided only one lifeguard and no supervisors from Easton went to the waterfront to supervise.

At shortly after 11:30 a.m., the client and the brother entered the water beyond the U-shaped dock and, following the lead of several students, began to swim without a counselor/coach or rescue tube towards an island.  The island was located approximately 150 yards from the shore.  Camp Cobbossee owned the island, and Lakeside advertised on its website that this was “a great spot for island swims and adventure programs.”

Actions of the Lifeguard

The lifeguard did not inform the students that they could not swim to the island.  He did not instruct them that they needed a counselor/coach to go with them.  He did not provide them with rescue tubes.  He did not inform the students that only competent deep water swimmers could swim to the island.  He simply watched.

While the students were swimming to the island, the remaining students within the dock area were engaged in “horseplay” and were throwing each other in the water (another violation of the Waterfront Rules to which the lifeguard took no action).  While the lifeguard was distracted by the students within the dock area, he tried to keep an eye on the students swimming back from the island.  The lifeguard either ignored, forgot or made a conscious decision to disregard the rules of lifeguarding which he learned from both the American Red Cross and while at the Camp.

Swimmer in Distress

As they were about halfway to the island, the client and the brother both started to yell to the lifeguard to save them.  Despite this, the lifeguard claims that there was no indication of them struggling or being in distress.  As the lifeguard remained on the dock, the twins continued to yell for help and splash in the water.  Instead of jumping in to assist, the lifeguard “told them to stop messing around” and asked them if they were serious.  The lifeguard then asked some team members behind him if the twins were joking.  In the meantime, the client and the brother continued to splash and yell for help.

The lifeguard states that at this point, one of the twins (the client) started to go underwater “more frequently.”  The lifeguard eventually ascertained that the client was actively drowning, so he jumped into the lake.  He began to swim to where the client had submerged.  However, he couldn’t find the client.  He yelled for someone to call 911 but unfortunately there were no adults on the shore to offer assistance.  The local police were not called until 12:02 p.m.  The lifeguard was unable to control the chaos that erupted at the beach.

Arrival of Police

The Chief of Police in Monmouth testified that when he arrived at the waterfront he “saw 50 or 60 teenagers, all males, in the water yelling, screaming, swimming, in boats, on body boards, swimming without preservers.  It was chaos.  It was complete chaos.”

It took some time for rescue personnel to clear the water of students so they could begin to search for the client.  The lifeguard’s inexperience was further established when he was unable to accurately point out where the client was last seen.  The client’s body was located at 1:25 p.m., approximately two hours after he drowned.  He was found in 12 feet of cold, murky water, lying on his back.  The client was brought to shore and pronounced dead.

The brother was able to swim to a buoy.  He testified at his deposition that the last vision he saw of his twin brother was his hand going underwater.  When he returned to shore, he waited in a rescue vehicle for word of his brother’s whereabouts.  He was cold, shaking and bordering on shock.  He was soon told that his brother was dead.

Filing Suit in a Drowning Case

Suit was filed against CampGroup, LLC, Lakeside Retreats, LLC and Easton.  All defendants have denied that they were responsible for the tragic drowning of the client and the injuries sustained by his brother.  There is a trial date scheduled for February 2011.

Mazow & McCullough, PC has broad experience and expertise in pursuing drowning accidents, swimming pool drowning cases, and open water drowning cases.  The law firm, based in Salem, Massachusetts, has produced superb results in a large number of personal injury cases. Contact the Massachusetts personal injury law office of Mazow|McCullough, PC today for a free legal consultation.

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