Each year, there are thousands of fatal drowning accidents across the United States, plus many more offshore. The tragic nature of these accidents is magnified by the fact that they are preventable in most cases. Sadly, people and companies often fail to do what is necessary to protect others’ safety, and these failures prove fatal far too often.

If you are coping with the loss of a loved one in a fatal drowning accident, you should speak with a drowning lawyer about your family’s legal rights. Holding the at-fault party accountable can help provide closure, and recovering the financial compensation to which your family is entitled will help with managing the long-term costs (both financial and non-financial) of your loved one’s untimely passing. An experienced drowning lawyer will be able to explain your family’s legal rights in detail, help you make informed decisions, and work to recover just compensation on your family’s behalf.

What Are Your Family’s Legal Rights After a Fatal Drowning Accident?

Whether your loved one died in an accident at a swimming pool, on a cruise ship, at sea, or in any other circumstances, your family has legal rights. These legal rights include:

1. The Right to Find Out What Happened

After a fatal drowning accident, you have the right to find out what happened. When you hire a drowning lawyer, your family’s lawyer will oversee a comprehensive investigation focused on uncovering exactly what happened and why. In addition to investigating the scene of the accident, this may also involve obtaining construction records, maintenance records, communications, surveillance camera footage, cell phone camera footage, and other forms of evidence from a variety of different sources.

2. The Right to Hold the At-Fault Party Accountable

Once your family’s lawyer determines what happened, he or she will be able to use this information to hold the at-fault party accountable. Swimming pool owners, cruise lines, and other individuals and entities owe various legal duties that are intended specifically to prevent fatal drownings. If a violation of any of these duties is to blame for your loved one’s death, your family’s lawyer can use this to seek just compensation on your family’s behalf.

3. The Right to Just Compensation for Your Family’s Financial Losses

In fatal drowning accident cases, eligible family members can seek just compensation for both the financial costs they have incurred and the financial costs they will incur as a result of their loved one’s death. While wrongful death laws vary, these costs generally include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of income and inheritance.

4. The Right to Just Compensation for Your Family’s Non-Financial Losses

Eligible family members can recover just compensation for certain non-financial losses related to their loved ones’ fatal drownings as well. In some cases, this will be limited to recovering just compensation for their loved one’s losses prior to death. In others, eligible family members will be able to seek just compensation for their own non-financial losses—including emotional trauma, loss of companionship and consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. An experienced drowning lawyer will be able to explain the types of compensation that are available based on the specific laws that apply to your family’s case.

5. The Right to Hire a Lawyer at No Out-of-Pocket Cost

You can hire a lawyer to represent your family at no out-of-pocket cost. When you hire an experienced drowning lawyer, your family’s lawyer will provide contingency-fee representation, which means that your family’s legal fees (if any) will be calculated as a percentage of the amount your family recovers for your loved one’s wrongful death.

Important Considerations for Filing a Fatal Drowning Accident Claim

When asserting your family’s legal rights after a fatal drowning accident, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. For example:

  • Family Members’ Specific Rights Depend on the Laws that Apply – Wrongful death laws vary by state, and, in some cases, general maritime law will apply. Your family’s lawyer will need to determine what laws apply before providing a detailed explanation of your (and your family member’s) legal rights.
  • The Law Also Determines Who (Which Family Member) Can File a Claim – The laws that apply will also determine who can file a claim on your family’s behalf. In some cases, multiple family members will be eligible to file. In others, the victim’s spouse or personal representative may need to file. Your family’s drowning lawyer can walk you through this as well.
  • It Can Be Important to Take Action Promptly – In fatal drowning accident cases, it will often be important to take action promptly. Evidence can disappear, and waiting longer than necessary can make it more difficult to recover just compensation.
  • Many (But Not All) Fatal Drowning Accident Cases Settle – If your family is entitled to financial compensation, there is a reasonable chance that your family’s claim will settle out of court if you hire an experienced drowning lawyer. However, there are no guarantees.
  • It Is Up to You to Decide How (and When) to Resolve Your Family’s Claim – Whether to settle or go to court is your choice. It is your family’s claim, and you get to decide when (and if) to settle.

Ultimately, the most important consideration to keep in mind is that you can—and should—seek help. An experienced drowning lawyer can tell you everything you need to know so that you can feel confident in your decision-making. While filing a claim can seem overwhelming, it is an important part of the coping process, and you can get through it with an experienced lawyer on your side.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Drowning Lawyer at Brais Law Firm

If you need to know more about your family’s legal rights after a fatal drowning accident, we strongly encourage you to speak with a drowning lawyer at Brais Law Firm. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at your convenience, please call 800-499-0551 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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