Aug 02 2019

Assessing Drowning Basics, Misconceptions and Liability

During the summer season each year, we unfortunately see a general rise in the number of drowning incidents that take place. Particularly risky for young children and adolescents, where it’s a leading cause of unintentional death, drowning can be a risk in a few different scenarios.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we handle numerous drowning cases within both our wrongful death and personal injury attorney services (drowning is not always a fatal event, as we’ll discuss in a bit). Let’s go over the basics of drowning, a couple common misconceptions that have made the rounds, and discuss whether there might be liability factors at play in certain drowning situations.

drowning basics misconceptions liability

Drowning Definition and Types

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is described as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity.”

As this paragraph indicates, and as we mentioned above, drowning encompasses many cases where death does not take place – in fact, the vast majority of recorded drownings are non-fatal. But even in these cases, drowning can be a major event, with even small amounts of liquid entering the lungs and causing damage to the lining found there. This liquid can also lead to infection, fluid buildup or inflammation. Luckily, the symptoms here will generally be easy to spot and remedy.

“Secondary Drowning” and Related Misconceptions

Unfortunately, a number of popular news outlets and social media mediums have published reports about something called “secondary drowning” or “dry drowning.” These terms refer to cases where children or others were rescued from water during a potential drowning situation, appeared just fine immediately afterward, but then died without warning hours or even days later.

The terms listed above are not medically accurate, and in reality these situations are virtually nonexistent. If death or other drowning symptoms do take place long after the initial event, there will be signs pointing to this – your child will have labored breathing, for instance, or may cough, wheeze, report chest pain or even become dizzy. In other cases, a different medical condition is the reason for the death or other symptoms. If you see any of these signs in someone who was rescued from water, seek immediate medical attention.

Drowning and Liability

In some cases, a person who has drowned or their family may have a liability claim related to the incident. The most common such situations are those where a public swimming location was not safe – perhaps conditions make slips more likely, or deep water was not marked properly. If it can be proven that negligence on the part of pool operators, or even of others present in the pool at the time, was the cause of a drowning incident, the victim could have a claim. If you believe this to be the case for you or someone close to you, speak to our personal injury lawyers right away to find out more.

To learn more about drowning cases, or for information on any of our personal injury or auto accident attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

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Sep 27 2018

Wrongful Death Versus Homicide

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, one of the areas we’re most proud of is our wrongful death services. We have a fantastic 98 percent success rate in getting surviving victims their maximum compensation, and you can rest assured knowing you have a wrongful death attorney fighting for you.

We regularly see bits of confusion from clients when it comes to the details of a wrongful death case. Many simply assume that, like homicide or manslaughter, it’s a criminal charge tried through the criminal court system – in reality, this is not the case. Wrongful death is part of the civil tort system. What does that mean, and what are some of the important differences?

Who Files

The biggest up-front difference between wrongful death and a homicide case is who files the charges. Criminal acts like murder, manslaughter and other homicides are brought by a prosecutor, then tried by a criminal court system at this prosecutor’s behest (barring a settlement, that is).

On the flip side, wrongful death cases are brought voluntarily by a plaintiff. These are most commonly surviving family members of the deceased looking to get due compensation for the death.

Amount of Evidence

The different court systems these areas are tried in come with very different levels of evidence required. Criminal cases require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” – this is a high burden of proof that allows for no doubt left in the mind of a jury. Attorneys in this realm use evidence and witnesses to attempt to make this case to the jury.

With a civil case, though, the bar for proof is lower. The plaintiff’s goal is to prove that the defendant is liable based on a “preponderance of evidence,” which simply means that most evidence must point to the defendant being responsible for causing an avoidable death.

Due to these differing levels of proof, wrongful death cases are more likely to succeed than homicide cases. Some families who don’t get the verdict they want through the criminal justice system will find it later through a wrongful death case.

Statute of Limitations

Another big difference between wrongful death cases and homicides or other criminal charges is the statute of limitations. With very few exceptions, major crimes like murder or homicide have no statute of limitations – they can be investigated and tried at any point in time, regardless of how long ago the event took place.

Wrongful death cases, though, often do have a statute of limitations. In Utah, this statute requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the death, or within one year if the claim is being filed against any government entity.

For more on wrongful death cases versus homicides and other criminal charges, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

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Aug 20 2018

Wrongful Death Versus Homicide

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, one of the areas we’re most proud of is our wrongful death services. We have a fantastic 98 percent success rate in getting surviving victims their maximum compensation, and you can rest assured knowing you have a wrongful death attorney fighting for you.

We regularly see bits of confusion from clients when it comes to the details of a wrongful death case. Many simply assume that, like homicide or manslaughter, it’s a criminal charge tried through the criminal court system – in reality, this is not the case. Wrongful death is part of the civil tort system. What does that mean, and what are some of the important differences?

Who Files

The biggest up-front difference between wrongful death and a homicide case is who files the charges. Criminal acts like murder, manslaughter and other homicides are brought by a prosecutor, then tried by a criminal court system at this prosecutor’s behest (barring a settlement, that is).

On the flip side, wrongful death cases are brought voluntarily by a plaintiff. These are most commonly surviving family members of the deceased looking to get due compensation for the death.

Amount of Evidence

The different court systems these areas are tried in come with very different levels of evidence required. Criminal cases require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” – this is a high burden of proof that allows for no doubt left in the mind of a jury. Attorneys in this realm use evidence and witnesses to attempt to make this case to the jury.

With a civil case, though, the bar for proof is lower. The plaintiff’s goal is to prove that the defendant is liable based on a “preponderance of evidence,” which simply means that most evidence must point to the defendant being responsible for causing an avoidable death.

Due to these differing levels of proof, wrongful death cases are more likely to succeed than homicide cases. Some families who don’t get the verdict they want through the criminal justice system will find it later through a wrongful death case.

Statute of Limitations

Another big difference between wrongful death cases and homicides or other criminal charges is the statute of limitations. With very few exceptions, major crimes like murder or homicide have no statute of limitations – they can be investigated and tried at any point in time, regardless of how long ago the event took place.

Wrongful death cases, though, often do have a statute of limitations. In Utah, this statute requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the death, or within one year if the claim is being filed against any government entity.

For more on wrongful death cases versus homicides and other criminal charges, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

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Aug 30 2017

Nursing Home Neglect Cases

William Rawlings & Associates investigate and review potential nursing home neglect cases.  The injuries are reviewed to determine if the injuries suffered are a result of inadequate care. This may have occurred in a nursing home, hospital or long-term assisted living facility. Individuals confined to a nursing home, deserve proper care and treatment.

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Aug 11 2014

Failure To Diagnose

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As a parent, one of the worst things that can happen is for one of your children to suffer through a serious injury or harm. It’s devastating and heartbreaking.  Dealing with a sick child can be exhausting, especially when doctors and nurses are trying to sort out what’s wrong. But what happens when the doctor fails to diagnose your child correctly and sends them home?

Jan 22 2014

Coping With a Wrongful Death


coping with a wrongful death

Losing a loved one in an auto accident is something we hope we never have to deal with in our lifetime. Through your grieving, you may be overcome with a sense of what do I do now?  You really don’t have the emotional and physical strength to get through the endless decisions being forced upon you and you’re wondering, will my family ever recover from this?  You have medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages that could have been earned by your loved one in the future.  More importantly,  how do you get through the pain and suffering?  William Rawlings & Associates has helped many families through these tragic events with care and compassion.  It is important to us that we help families get back on their feet and guide them to a peaceful conclusion.