Gwinnett County Firefighters Delay in Attempting Rescue from Drowning Results in Lawsuit


June 28, 2011

The parents of two Dacula boys who drowned when they fell through the ice last year have filed a lawsuit against Gwinnett County for $10 million each.

The two boys age 14 and 13 plunged into a pond in the Daniel Park subdivision when the ice collapsed. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the firefighters delayed providing aid or attempting to rescue the boys for forty minutes after arriving on the scene. The claim further alleges that the firefighters failed to attempt a rescue despite the fact that they had life jackets and wetsuits, and that they waited forty minutes until a boat arrived on the scene.

The Gwinnett County wrongful death lawsuit asserts multiple theories of liability against separate defendants. One assertion is that the county is liable for failure of the firefighters to attempt a rescue more promptly and failure to bring a boat to the scene earlier. A spokesman for the fire department told The Atlanta Constitution-Journal that it is the policy of the fire department not to go into the water to attempt a rescue until a boat is on the scene. The parents have also named the Daniel Park Community Association for failing to maintain the premises free of hazardous conditions or to warn of these dangerous conditions.

There are a number of issues that will be important in this wrongful death lawsuit. Causation must be proven for the plaintiff to be successful. The attorneys for the parents will have to establish that the delay in the rescue was a factor in the drownings. The frigid temperature of the water may make this more difficult to establish. The attorney for the parents also may need to show that the policy of waiting for a boat and the delay associated with waiting posed an unreasonable risk of harm.

The parents will face other issues in their claims against the homeowner’s association. It may be relevant what the homeowner’s association knew or should have known with regard to the hazardous condition of the ice and the practice of children to walk on the frozen pond. The icy pond might also be considered an attractive nuisance. Even if children are trespassers, landowners owe children a duty of care to protect children from an attractive nuisance that is likely to attract a child and poses risks that are not likely to be appreciated by a child.

The Georgia wrongful death attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death caused by the careless, reckless or intentional conduct of others for over 27 years. If you have suffered serious injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one, the compassionate Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Montlick and Associates may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries or loss.

Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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