Fault for drowning deaths can be distributed among parties whose negligence contributes to the cause of death. Fault can be shared between pool owners, pool operators, city agencies, and any individuals or entities who have a duty of care to the deceased. When multiple parties are involved in an Illinois drowning, a personal injury attorney often helps surviving family members identify which entities may have played a role in the accident.
The Drowning Death of Michal Duda
This past December, an Illinois jury awarded $21.5 million to the family of Michal Duda and assigned 80% fault to the Justice Park District and 20% fault to the Bridgeview Park District for the drowning. This award was among the highest ever awarded in Illinois in a wrongful death lawsuit of a child.
Michal’s death in 2014 resulted from a combination of factors. Chief among these were Michal’s inability to swim and inability to keep his head out of the water. Video evidence gathered from the scene and presented to the jury during the trial showed camp counselors tasked with watching Michal was instead inside a nearby locker room. These counselors were aware that Michal did not know how to swim and was negligent in their duty of care when they failed to monitor him while he was in the pool.
The counselors also failed to provide Michal with a flotation device or to alert the lifeguards of Michal’s inability to swim. He was already unresponsive by the time the lifeguards reacted. Subsequent efforts to save him through CPR proved ineffective and he died later at the hospital. As they considered these factors, the jury determined that it was the negligent actions of multiple parties that contributed to the wrongful death of Michael Duda.
Swimming Pool Liability
Whether it is a city agency, swimming pool operator, pool owner, camp operator, church group, homeowner, or family friend, individuals tasked with monitoring a child while swimming have a duty of care to that child. These individuals and entities can be held liable when their actions result in the injury or death of a child. When the negligence of multiple parties contributes to an injury or wrongful death, the jury has the discretion to distribute liability to those responsible.