How quickly do you have to sue in the event of someone drowning in public pool.

Asked over 2 years ago - San Jose, CA

My sister drowned in a public pool that had a life guard on duty. The life guard didn't notice her under the water until it was too late. At least 5min, likely 10min, before the life guard pulled her out. She later passed away after being in a coma for several months. The family didn't know if we should sue or not but now have concluded that we should, if possible. It has been 1 year and 2 months since her accident, under one year since she passed away. Can we still sue?

Attorney answers (9)

  1. James Otto Heiting

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You must file a claim with the "public entity" involved within 6 months. Relief from that time limit may be granted by the courts for good cause, but up to a year. The general statute of limitations (time limits) in California is now 2 years for most injuries if filing against individuals, companies and the like; but the claims process must be followed (including the more strict and shorter time limits) with suits against public entities like cities, counties, the state, etc.
    Even so, you should consult with (see and talk to) an attorney familiar with this type claim, and preferably in the area where the accident occurred, immediately. There may be things not discussed and/or disclosed here that could affect your rights.
    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Best of luck with this.

  2. S. David Rosenthal Esquire

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm very sorry about your loss.

    There may be both wrongful death and "survival" claims against the persons and entities responsible for supervising the swim area.

    Investigation should be done as soon as possible as to the entities that own and operate the pool. There is a six month claims statute against public entities that generally requires that a claim be filed within that time. However, the six months may not have started to run until your sister passed. Also, there are several exceptions, so it is imperative that you contact a good personal injury attorney immediately to evaluate your options.

    We have handled many wrongul death claims successfully.

    S. David Rosenthal
    ROSENTHAL LAW
    2251 Douglas Blvd., Ste. 120
    Roseville, CA 95661
    Phone: (916)774-7200
    Fax: (916)774-7203
    sdr@drinjurylaw.com
    www.rosenthalinjurylaw.com



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  3. Scott Richard Kaufman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm so sorry this happened to your sister.

    In personal injury matters, the statute of limitations can be as short as 2 years. If a public entity is involved, time may be tighter still. It's important that you contact a personal injury atty right away as time is ticking and rights may be disappearing. Feel free to contact my office for a local referral to a qualified atty.

  4. Jeffrey Travis Roberts

    Contributor Level 9

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. In California the statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death action is two years from the date of the negligent act that led to death. It is imperative that your family immediately contact an attorney who handles wrongful death claims to discuss how to proceed. The operator of a public pool may be found liable for having a life guard on duty who negligently performs his/her responsiblity for diligently watching the swimmers.
    Jeff Roberts
    THE ROBERTS LAW FIRM

  5. Paul Y. Lee

    Contributor Level 18

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The California statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death is two years. See Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. Hence, it appears you still have time. As noted, depending on the parties you are suing, you may have to submit a claim to a public entity defendant before you can proceed with a lawsuit. Consult a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer as soon as feasible. Most plaintiffs' personal injury or wrongful death lawyers will provide a free initial consultation. Good luck.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not... more
  6. John Noah Kitta

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, sorry to hear about these tragic events. Previous counsel commented you need to hire a local good personal injury lawyer. I believe that is a little understated, you need to find a local aggressive tremendously experienced personal injury lawyer who has significant time available to immediately address the issues raised by your facts. There are a number of timing issues and you need to get all available information to an attorney who can start working through these issues today. On our last wrongful death case, the client came in and I had one day to file a complaint for damages in Santa Clara County Court. If it had not been filed that day the client would have lost all right for any recovery. Al ot of times pass, thee is a lot of danger regarding your claim. You need to have a real professional start looking in to your situation today. If you want a further analysis you will have to provide my office with a descriptive statement of facts in regard to this incident.

    If you have found this answer to be helpful please let me know by clicking on the “Mark as helpful” button on the bottom of the answer. It’s easy and most appreciated..

    This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client... more
  7. Norman Gregory Fernandez

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you are going against a governmental entity it is too late. If it is not a governmental entity you have time. My firm handles these types of cases all over California. We give free consultations 24 at 800-816-1529.

    No attorney/client relationship is or shall be created by this response on Avvo to non-clients of The Law Offices... more
  8. Andrew Ronald Gillin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I suggest you obtain a consultation in a lawyer's office as soon as possible. Time limitations can be very complex and you will need at least an hour to get all the facts in front of the lawyer.

  9. Steven Mark Sweat

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . First of all, let me express my sympathy. This is a tragic event and I'm sure it has been tough trying to just grieve the loss of your sister and filing a lawsuit was secondary to this. Having said this, the laws in California on this issue are as follows: If it is a "public" pool (i.e. owned and operated by a government entity), you may have had only 6 months to file a "Government Tort Claim" and then as little as six months thereafter but, not more than two years to file suit just depending upon whether the claim was accepted or rejected by the government entity. If either the pool or the lifeguard was owned or employed by a private entity, you may have up to two years from the date if the accident to file suit.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for... more

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Wrongful death and personal injuries

Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed if someone’s death is thought to be the fault of another person or business, either intentionally or because of negligence.

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