This case involves a 12-year-old girl who visited a local beach. She walked out to the end of a jetty that was adjacent to a designated swimming area and dove head first into the water. The water was too shallow for diving and the girl hit her head. As a result of the impact, the girl became paraplegic. The young girl assumed the water was deep enough to dive because there were no signs anywhere indicating shallow water or prohibiting diving. An expert in aquatic safety was sought to review this case and opine on proper safety protocol and warnings that could have prevented this accident from occurring.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your experience with the above subject matter.
- 2. Can you speak to the required signage and/or safety protocol that should be in place to prevent diving into shallow water?
Expert Witness Response E-008835
I have served on the board of directors for a national drowning prevention association advocating for drowning and aquatic injury prevention. I have been a firefighter and EMT for 40+ years and currently train fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement personnel as water rescue instructors. I have written and published several articles on the prevention and management of aquatic spinal injuries. I have conducted training nationally, as well as internationally on this subject. Besides fatal and non-fatal submersion incidents, diving accidents are the most significant aquatic-related injuries that can occur at an aquatic facility. These tragic incidents can easily be prevented through the placement of signage, the erection of barriers, and public education.
Expert Witness Response E-000466
I am an expert in aquatic safety can speak to the proper signage and procedures that should be in place to prevent this accident from occurring. I’ve worked on a number of very similar cases involving diving and spinal injuries and I have expertise in speaking about proper swimming area maintenance. My process involves retrieving all of the necessary data and reviewing the depositions relating to this case and analyzing that data using my experience and previous casework.