Summer Safety: Unqualified Lifeguards
You have been able to save enough to go on a family vacation for a week with your wife and two children. You book a wonderful trip to the beach. The hotel is a little pricey but it is worth it for the water park that is attached. Your kids will get to have the beach and a water park all in one.
It’s the first day at the waterpark, you notice there is only one lifeguard near the very large swimming pool in the center of the park. It seems like a lot of work for one person. How are they supposed to watch all fifty of the swimmers at once? But you forget about that thought because your son squirts you in the back with a water gun. You’ve been on all the rides and now everyone wants to relax a little and head to the swimming pool. You still see the same 17-year-old skinny teenager on the lifeguard chair. Your daughter is talking to other girls her age at the other end of the pool.
You had only taken your eye off of her for five minutes, she was with other girls and there was a lifeguard on duty. How is this possible? She can’t be gone, she was only 12; she hadn’t even gone to high school yet. The small teenage lifeguard said he was so sorry, he tried everything he knew how to do. He could barely get her out of the pool since he only weighed a few pounds more than your daughter.
In cases of drowning the consequences for the victim and family are severe. Should a drowning victim live, there can be brain damage from lack of oxygen. In many cases, there are lengthy hospital stays, and other medical complications. Often drowning victims pass away before making it to the hospital if there is no one present with CPR training. Any delays in care can also lead to death in the following days.
The Marrone Law Firm, LLC represented the family of a man who drowned at a popular New York Resort. The case was against the resort facility and its uncertified lifeguard. The Plaintiff, a resort guest, had been swimming in the hotel pool when he drowned. At the time, a young woman was serving as the sole lifeguard. She believed the guest to be joking around and failed to notice the drowning. She then neglected to enter the pool to attempt a rescue. It was later discovered that the on-duty lifeguard was uncertified and lacked the training and experience to attempt life-saving protocols which may have saved the victim’s life. Joseph Marrone obtained a $2.9 million settlement for the victim’s family.
A tragedy like this changes a family. You are left with a gaping hole that no amount of apologies or policy changes can fill. You are left wondering why your family and what if this happens to someone else. If a lifeguard is present, it should be safe to assume that they have received proper training. It is the responsibility of the property owners to make sure that their guests are safe. This includes properly qualified lifeguards who are capable of maintaining order, retrieving swimmers in distress, and providing lifesaving CPR until medical help arrives.
If you have had a family member who has suffered or died due to the negligence of an unqualified lifeguard it is important to contact an attorney who has experience with drowning cases as soon as possible. They can help you and your family get the care that you need. They can also assure that the establishment is held responsible and makes the changes needed so that no other family needs to suffer a preventable tragedy.