Drowning cases in Illinois are very difficult to pursue, but can be successful with the proper legal approach. The Centers for Disease Control reports that drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Despite this striking statistic, Illinois law makes it difficult for parents to recover for the drowning deaths of their children. Illinois courts hold that drownings are most often the fault of an inattentive parent.
Even in this difficult setting, however, these cases can be successful. I have resolved drowning cases by proving that the parents took reasonable steps to ensure that their children would be unable to encounter the pool at issue.
In one case, I was able to show that the defendants were liable where the parents closed and locked the only door they were aware of that led to the defendants' pool. The defendants asked the court to grant summary judgment and hold that the drowning occurred because the parents were not watching the child carefully enough. I defeated the motion and was able to settle the case because I was able to show that the child likely entered the pool from another door in the home that led to the pool. The parents were unaware that this door even existed. The defendant, however, was aware that this door had an inoperable lock.
I was able to settle the case for the limit of the defendants' insurance policy after defeating the motion for summary judgment.