Cold weather, especially in the northern states, brings with it many dangers. One of the most notable of these is frozen bodies of water, whether they be ponds, lakes, rivers, or else. Frozen water by itself doesn't pose the biggest danger. In fact, the concern comes when the layers of ice that form over water become compromised; when this happens, unsuspecting victims can fall through, unexpectedly plunging into freezing, and often deep, water.
An ice drowning speaks to a tragedy where someone is submerged in water after falling through the ice. Such incidents may also be referred to as thin ice drownings, which can be a reference to ice that may look sturdy but actually isn’t strong enough to support a person’s weight.
Commonly, drownings under ice occur when someone is trying to cross the ice over a body of water, like a river, pond, or lake. However, they can also happen when someone attempts to walk along the shore and accidentally falls through thin ice.
Each year, there are dozens of fatal ice drownings in the United States and thousands of other non-fatal incidents where people are pulled from frigid waters. Experts believe that these numbers are actually very conservative because many accidents might go unreported.
The vast majority of these deaths occur in the winter months but, according to some reports, cases of drownings under the ice in spring and even summer are not negligible.
The most common ice drownings result when individuals walk out onto the ice without realizing it has thawed or grown too thin. Whether it be for fishing, as a shortcut, or even to play sports, ice can initially appear sturdy only for the situation to quickly devolve into a precarious one. Cracks in ice are quick to form and spread, leaving victims with little time to make it to safety.
In other instances, thick layers of ice may be broken by strong impacts from vehicles, due to objects being embedded in the ice, and as a result of the underlying water increasing in temperature.
At first, ice drownings may seem like accidents. However, depending on the circumstances of these tragedies, it could be the case that the negligence of an individual or other entity is found to have been at least partially responsible.
If you were injured after falling through ice, or if a loved one lost their life from drowning under ice, you may have the option of seeking compensation. Via a personal injury or wrongful death claim, victims can have their day in court and have their voices heard in the search for justice.
Yet the legal system is difficult to navigate; this is where an ice drowning attorney can help. A legal professional can help you hold responsible parties accountable. With experience litigating these kinds of cases, a lawyer will guide you through the legal process step-by-step in order to maximize your chances of receiving full compensation for your damages.
The Aquatic Attorneys have experience winning multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of clients who have suffered injuries or died in drowning accidents. We are prepared to fight for your rights, too. Contact us now for a free drowning accident consultation.