Regardless of whether it is publicly or privately owned and operated, public gathering places generally have safety precautions in place to help avoid preventable accidents. If a breakdown in those safety precautions allows a fatal accident to take place, the family of the deceased could take legal action against those responsible for the property and its safe operation.
According to reports, the family of a 13-year-old who drowned at a Bridgeport beach in 2007 filed a lawsuit against the city, as well as the city’s parks department, for wrongful death. The family reportedly alleged in their lawsuit that the lifeguards the city had on duty at the time of the accident failed to respond to cries for help or to assist in rescuing the boy. It was reported that the boy was swimming near one of the lifeguard towers when he disappeared, but witness reports suggest that all of the lifeguards were together somewhere else on the beach. Two bystanders reportedly pulled the boy’s unconscious body from the water. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The family has reportedly asked for compensation of $200,000 in the lawsuit.
Based on statements from the city’s spokesman and the mayor, the fatal accident was, from the city’s point of view, just that, a tragic and unfortunate accident, and not due to a lack of enough lifeguards. It was not reported whether the city has offered any sort of a dispute or explanation for the claims that the lifeguards were elsewhere when the drowning occurred.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to an accident you believe could have been prevented, you too may have cause for legal action. An experienced attorney can explain your options and help you to decide how best to proceed in your situation.
Source: Connecticut Post, “Bridgeport may settle $200K wrongful death lawsuit,” Brian Lockhart, Oct. 26, 2013