But before we get too happy about that prospect, let’s review some sobering statistics on drowning in swimming pools. The Center for Disease Control reports that there is an average of 3,533 fatal, unintentional drownings annually in the U.S., excluding boating-related incidents. Further, about 20% of those who drown are children 14 years old and younger, and for every child who dies from drowning, another five go to the emergency department for nonfatal injuries.
Cases that involve swimming pool injuries and fatalities, especially those involving children, are emotionally difficult cases for lawyers, judges, and juries, alike. It is difficult to reconcile what we think of as a fun, time-honored American pastime as having the real possibility of causing permanent injuries and even death.
The need for an expert witness in these cases is clear, and there may well be a need for more than one. One swimming pool expert witness focuses on the mechanics and engineering of the event. What were the specific characteristics of the location? Were all required safety features met? What role human error in functions like lifeguarding? Critical to this expert testimony is the nature and extent of the injuries in terms of being causally related to the event and the location.
Another area which may require a second expert witness is one or more medical providers, along side a third party expert witness on damages suffered. The treating medical professionals can be qualified as experts, both to vault their credibility and to expand the breadth of their admissible testimony. But what you can add with use of a non-treating medical expert is the person who brings together the narrative of post-accident medical events, the extent of the injuries, and the projection of on-going medical needs and physical limitations.
Simply given the engineering and the safety standards involved, swimming pool accident cases require at least one expert witness. As spring fever starts to hit the northeast, now is the perfect time to start your expert witness selection process for swimming accident cases that may already be in progress at your firm, along with a comprehensive review of all other pending torts.
By: Paloma A. Capanna, Attorney at Law