Drowning Injury FAQs

What is drowning?*

Drowning is a considerable public health concern because it is a significant cause of disability and death. Drowning is a process resulting in primary respiratory impairment from submersion in a liquid medium.

Massachusetts pool operators may be legally liable for any drowning-related injuries or deaths that occur due to safety and code violations.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or death due to a drowning accident, please contact the attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. in Boston, Massachusetts.


What is dry-drowning?

Another form of drowning is dry-drowning which may occur, for example, when a person is submerged in icy water. The coldness of the water causes the larynx to spasm and results in a lack of oxygen in the body.

What is a submersion injury?

Near-drowning or submersion injury is the survival, at least temporarily, after suffocation by submersion in a liquid medium. The injuries occur when a person is submerged under water, attempts to breathe, and aspirates water or has laryngospasm without aspiration.

Drowning injury data & statistics
  • 1,500 drowning deaths involve children.
  • More than 8,000 deaths occur annually in the United States due to drowning.
  • Submersion-related injuries are the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
What are the classifications of a submersion incident?
  • Asymptomatic
  • Symptomatic
    • Altered level of consciousness
    • Altered vital signs
    • Anxious appearance
    • Dyspnea
    • Hypoxia
    • Metabolic acidosis
    • Neurological deficit
    • Tachypnea
  • Cardiopulmonary Arrest
    • Apnea
    • Asystole
    • Bradycardia
    • Immersion syndrome
    • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Obviously Dead
    • Apnea
    • Dependent lividity
    • No apparent CNS function
    • Normothermic with asystole
    • Rigor mortis
What are the causes of drowning?
  • Anxiety/ panic disorder
  • Drowning in Bathtub
  • Drowning in Ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans
  • Drowning in Residential swimming pools
  • Hypoglycemia/ diabetes
  • Inadequate fencing
  • Inadequate pool supervision
  • Inadequate safety training
  • Inadequate safety/ medical equipment
  • Myocardial infarction
  • No barrier between pool and home
  • Poor neuromuscular control
  • Seizure disorder
  • Unsafe pool equipment
  • Violations of safety standards/ regulations
  • Water sports
What injuries can result from a drowning incident?
  • Acidosis
  • Autonomic instability
  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral edema
  • Cervical spine injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Learning disabilities
  • Memory problems
  • Multiorgan effects
  • Permanent loss of basic functioning
  • Prolonged hypoxemia
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