My six year old was at an indoor pool party at a gym where there were two lifeguards on duty. About an hour later, I was called saying that she almost drowned and was under water for a few seconds before a lifeguard physically pulled her out and performed CPR. Shortly after, I demanded to see video surveillance (there was a camera stationed at the desk which covered the entire pool and beyond), and saw the two lifeguards laughing and goofing off prior to when my child was struggling to get her head above water. It was exactly 40 seconds before they noticed and jumped in. Thankfully, my daughter is doing just fine now, though she is having trouble breathing and is suffering from nightmares. Is this enough to warrant a lawsuit? Please let me know. Thank you.
Thank G-d she's doing well. Immediately contact qualified counsel. An investigation needs to be conducted asap. Including interviewing witnesses, preserving tapes and hiring the appropriate expert(s). She also needs to see the appropriate medical professionals. Head injuries need a lot of tlc.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff
You should definitely consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Diego to review the potential of pursuing civil action. The consultation should be free.
The benefit of using an attorney for a negligence action like this is knowing the questions to ask and the civil procedure required. The gym will have a lawyer and trying to do this "in pro per" will not be a fair fight. The sooner you hire a lawyer (almost certainly on a contingent fee with a free initial consultation) the sooner the facts can be determined, through subpoena, notice to produce or otherwise.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Whether there was a loss of oxygen to the brain and whether such a loss, if it occurred, caused any measurable problems will be a major factor in the potential value of a case based on the small amount of facts posted by the initiating poster here. MEDICAL treatment is always first... But as there was mention of a video recording, one of the next things to do is preserve that video... and hire a lawyer... the lawyer will get that video and know what else to get... The child may need to see a neurologist for a thorough... and I mean thorough evaluation (not just the light in the eyes and can you walk a straight line exam)... one that involves some cognitive testing as well as physical ability testing.
Fortunately, most of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take such cases on contingency no matter where the case is in California, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician
* Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. (Attorney and Physician) ** This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy. *** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of defective drug and medical device litigation, medical malpractice, personal injury, health supplement litigation, and real estate law and does so anywhere in the State of California. **** If you enjoy my posts, enjoyed a consultation with me, or are a happy satisfied client, please give me an Avvo recommendation/review.
All great advice above and thankfully your daughter is seeming getting better. The question is going to turn to 1) Duty: What's the lifeguards standard of care for lifeguards and did they breach it (fire off notice to preserve all electronic/written/other evidence related to the matter) and 2) Damages - negligent infliction of emotional distress sounds to be the focus given the facts, and further you both may have claims against both the organization and the lifeguards personally. Wish you the best and hopefully you have retained counsel by now!
Candidly, what the other lawyers are saying is that your daughter may have endured a lack of oxygen long enough to warrant being checked out for brain injury. Did she lose consciousness? How is her memory now? Is her behavior noticeably different?
These are all signs of brain injury due to hypoxia, aka a sustained lack of adequate oxygen. Cases wherein this injury is proven can worth be seven-to-eight figures in value if tried to verdict. In such situations, where brain injury is in question, it is still sometimes possible to scare the defendant into a reasonable settlement prior to trial. That aside: did she swallow or worse still breathe in water, which can cause other serious injuries?
This situation warrants investigation by a lawyer, but unlike Mr. Gross, I would find the best So. Cal. attorney you can without limiting yourself to the San Diego area--most good lawyers have a state- or even nationwide practice no matter where their office is located.
A lot of lawyers on here offer free consultations on cases like yours. All the best to you and your family.
The good news is that you daughter survived with only emotional wounds and maybe some water in her lungs.
Your best bet is to consult with the very best personal injury lawyer you can find. The best will provide you a free consultation, an analysis of your situation and a discussion of your options.
If your daughter escapes this near miss without medical expenses or serious emotional scars, there might not be enough “damages” to warrant a lawsuit.
Thank goodness your daughter appears to have survived her ordeal. I agree with most of the lawyers here who suggest you should consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area. However when I hear a question that has the words " almost" or "could have," it generally indicates that not enough damages (injury) were sustained to warrant a lawyer getting involved with the claim.
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She should get fully evaluated by a neurologist, and perhaps other doctors. Avvo has a great lawyer finder tool to locate an attorney close to your home. Good luck.
What you posted is certainly enough to pursue a claim for damages for personal injury. A lawsuit is not yet necessary from this information to pursue the claim. Please be mindful that a lifeguard could not possibly have immediately reached your daughter even if attentive at the time of her going under water and that the "few seconds" of being underwater might not have been appreciably reduced by immediate lifeguard response. Lots of work needs to be done and your daughter is certainly worth that effort. Best wishes for a full recovery.
I handle a lot of child abuse and negligence cases at daycare centers and schools. As a mommy myself, seek care for your little one then consult with an attorney. You will need to look for an attorney that has worked with children in negligent supervision cases.
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