Hotel water parks are a popular destination for families looking for fun while avoiding the summer heat. Unfortunately, some of these outings may end in either an injury or an accidental drowning death.
Causes of Hotel Water Park Accidents
For the most part, hotel water parks operate with no serious accidents being reported. When incidents occur, there are two main culprits:
- Inadequate supervision of water park visitors. Hotel water park owners have a responsibility to ensure that visitors are not exposed to unnecessary danger while they are at the facility. They have a duty to provide lifeguards, equipment operators, and other people who are qualified for their jobs. Unfortunately, many of the personnel working at hotel water parks are seasonal employees who are high school or college students with minimal training in water safety or first aid. If this type of individual is on duty when an incident occurs, they may not have the experience to react properly.
- Use of dangerous water park equipment. Many hotel water parks have wave pools that generate large waves similar to those of the ocean. Wave pools are considered to be a dangerous attraction because the crashing waves can cause both exhaustion and disorientation to swimmers. Other dangers of wave pools include water that can be deeper than children’s heads, increasing the risk of drowning. In addition, the loud noises and overcrowding of wave pools can make it difficult for lifeguards and safety personnel to hear people who might need help.
Holding the Hotel Water Park Liable for a Drowning
Hotels are private entities. As such, they owe a level of protection to individuals both inside and outside the property—and this extends to the water park. The hotel could be held liable for a drowning if it could have done something to prevent it from happening.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a hotel water park drowning accident, you will have to prove that you have a premises liability claim. In Texas, the plaintiff (the injured party) must be able to establish the following:
- The defendant had a legal duty of care for the plaintiff’s safety.
- That legal duty was breached.
- The accident happened because of the defendant’s breach of that legal duty.
As with any case, you’ll need to gather evidence. This can include the following:
- Photos or videos from the scene of the accident, including pictures of the hazards that were present
- Eyewitness statements from family members or other water park guests who might have witnessed the accident
- A report from the police if they were called to the scene
You’ll also need to provide proof that you were a guest at the hotel. This can include such items as receipts for your room, purchase details such as tickets for the water park, or bank or credit card statements that list your expenses.
After you gather evidence of the accident, you should file an incident report with the hotel. If you make a report before gathering evidence, the hotel might try to cover up any hazards that led to the drowning incident in an attempt to avoid liability.
You should also call an experienced attorney who can help with your personal injury or wrongful death case. If you do not have an attorney on your side, this could mean you will not get all of the damages to which you are entitled. The hotel’s insurance company will likely fight the claim, saying that the hotel was not liable or negligent. If they do agree to pay damages, their goal is always to pay as little as possible—even if you are entitled to more.
Your claim against the hotel water park could include the following damages:
- Medical and hospital bills for the person who was injured
- Lost wages
- Funeral and burial costs if the victim is deceased
- Pain and suffering of the victim, or for the family members if the victim is deceased
A skilled attorney can protect the rights of you and your family and help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Cases
The state of Texas has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the injury for a personal injury claim. If you try to take action against those at fault after that two-year window expires, you will likely be unable to hold the party responsible. Although there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, it is always best to move as quickly as possible.
For a wrongful death case, you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit. In Texas, the victim’s spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death action. If these individuals do not file a claim within three months of the victim’s death, an executor or representative of the deceased person's estate can file a claim.
Two years might sound like a long time to take action, but it often takes months to conduct a thorough investigation and build a strong case. It is critical that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. A personal injury or wrongful death attorney can review your options and help you determine the best way to build a strong case.
Contact The Button Law Firm
If you've been injured or your loved one drowned in a hotel water park accident, contact The Button Law Firm. If you are not yet ready to speak to an attorney but you have questions about personal injury cases, we invite you to download our free ebook, The Essential Guide for Your Texas Injury Case. Or call our office, and we can mail a copy to your home—free of charge.