Houston Drowning Accident Lawyer

There’s nothing quite like the Houston summer heat to make you want to go for a swim. From backyard barbecues and summer day camps, to beachside family vacations and community pool trips — Texans certainly know how to make a splash when the temperature rises.

But where the potential for fun is high, so is the risk of danger.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of death among children. Texas alone recorded 76 fatal drownings in 2022, 80% of which involved children under four years. Across the country, the numbers are just as devastating. A total of 4,012 people drowned in the United States between 2011 and 2020 — an average of 11 deaths per day.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a drowning incident — seek out an experienced Houston drowning accident lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately. It’s never too early to get legal counsel.

Contact us today at (713) 932-0777 to schedule your 100% free consultation with a Houston drowning accident attorney.

Negligence and Liability In Drowning Accidents

swimming pool accidentOwners or operators of swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, public parks, lakes, and other bodies of water have a responsibility to comply with proper safety protocols. Safety rules should be followed, and premises liability should be closely observed. In injury cases where there’s evidence of negligence, victims and their surviving family members may be entitled to compensation.

In any pool-related drowning death or near-drowning case, determining liability is a matter of figuring out who was responsible for ensuring the safety of the pool and its users. This could be the swimming pool owner, the municipality, the boating company, the service company, or any other party responsible for maintaining the premises and securing the safety of patrons.

Liability may be incurred if owners, lessees, or operators fail to:

  • Provide adequate supervision or safety regulations;
  • Warn of potential hazards (e.g., warning signs that prohibit diving);
  • Provide sufficient security or fencing;
  • Provide trained staff (e.g., lifeguards);
  • Maintain age-appropriate equipment;
  • Make regular, scheduled safety inspections.

As a general rule, many property owners do not owe any duty to trespassers. However, in Texas, property owners face strict liability for any endangerment to a child, even if the child was trespassing. This is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine, according to which hazardous objects that might pose harm to young children, such as swimming pool areas, must be safeguarded (for instance, with an enclosed fence) to prevent them from entering the area. Property owners who fail to properly secure their swimming pool area may be held liable for subsequent injuries.

What Is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine?

The attractive nuisance doctrine is a premises liability rule of common law in the United States that has developed as a way to hold a landowner responsible for maintaining a dangerous condition on his property that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the danger. Some common examples of conditions that the doctrine has been applied to are unprotected swimming pools, lakes, trampolines, piles of sand or debris, old cars, or defective play structures.  Dangerous domestic animals are another possible use of this doctrine.

Attractive Nuisance vs Premise Liability Law

fenced swimming poolUnder typical premises liability law, the duty a landowner owes to a trespasser is less than that owed to an invitee–a person invited onto the premises for the owner’s mutual benefit.  The attractive nuisance doctrine counteracts this burden to deter landowners from keeping unprotected conditions on their property that they should realize will attract kids.

Although there may be variances from state to state, in order for the doctrine to apply the following elements generally must be met:

  •  The place where the condition exists is one where the landowner or occupier knows or should know children are likely to trespass;
  • The condition is one that the owner or occupier knows or has reason to know involves an unreasonable risk of injury to the children;
  • The children, due to their youthfulness do not appreciate the danger;
  • The utility of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating or reducing the risk is slight in comparison to the risk involved to the children;
  • The landowner or possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise protect the children.

Application of the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Generally, the Courts look to the age and mental ability of the individual child in question to determine if the child is able to appreciate the danger and whether any steps taken by the landowner to prevent the harm were reasonable.  For example, a “dangerous undertow – do not swim sign” may be sufficient to warn a teenager, but not a three-year-old.  Thus, the landowner must take into account the age and understanding of the potential trespasser. Furthermore, by statute, the Texas legislature limits the attractive nuisance doctrine to children 16 and under.

What type of damages can I recover from a drowning accident?

Following a fatal drowning incident, possible damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future earnings of the deceased
  • Pain and suffering of the victim
  • Loss of companionship from the deceased
  • Emotional distress to surviving family members.

Those responsible can and should be held accountable through a drowning accident claim or lawsuit. These claims provide families and loved ones affected with financial restitution for their losses.

Our Houston drowning accident lawyers look at each case on an individual basis. First, we analyze the circumstances, how, and why the victim drowned. If the individual suffered a near-drowning incident, we will calculate all bills and expenses (past and future). For a wrongful death claim involving the loss of a loved one, we will examine any form of economic hardship faced in their absence, and how it will affect your quality of life going forward. Call (800) 298-0111 for your free case evaluation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When a Guest Drowns in Your Pool?

The duty owed by a landowner to a guest whom he invited or gave permission to access the pool is higher than that of a trespasser.  When a guest is involved, the landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe for the use intended. Thus, if the drowning occurred due to a dangerous condition such as a defective drain that the landowner was aware of or should have been aware of upon a reasonable inspection, or if he was negligent in supervising inexperienced swimmers, the landowner may be liable. If there was a hazard that the landowner should have known about had he conducted a reasonable inspection before allowing the use, then he may very well be held liable by a Texas jury. A drowning accident lawyer can evaluate the victim’s case and help determine whether there is a potential legal action. If you are the landowner, you should notify your homeowner’s insurance company of the incident as soon as possible to prevent any loss of coverage.

What Happens When a Trespasser Drowns in Your Pool?

The duty owed by a landowner is to warn trespassers of actually known dangers and not intentionally cause them harm. The duty to conduct a reasonable inspection does not extend to trespassers. Thus, if someone were to sneak onto a landowner’s property, access the pool, and drown due to a defective drain or faulty wiring that the landowner did not have knowledge of, the landowner would likely not be liable.

What Happens When a Child Trespasses and Drowns in Your Pool?

Children are an exception to the trespasser rule. Texas follows the attractive nuisance doctrine which states that when a child is of such young age that he cannot appreciate a danger created by a condition on the landowner’s property, the condition creates an attractive nuisance, and the landowner owes them the same duty of care as they owe to a guest. Yarborough v. Berner, 467 S.W.2d 188, 190 (Tex. 1971). If the trespasser is too young to appreciate that the pool is a danger and that trespassing is wrong, the landowner may still be liable. This is why most homeowner’s insurance companies will not sell you a policy for a home with a pool unless it is fenced in. Some require a separate locked fence around the pool itself. Some homeowner’s associations impose similar restrictions for this reason. Talk to a child injury lawyer to determine whether you have the right insurance coverage in the event of an unforeseen accidental drowning.

How Young Is Too You to Appreciate the Danger?

Whether a child is too young to appreciate a danger to qualify them for the attractive nuisance doctrine is a question for the court or jury to decide. However, Texas law holds that a child under the age of 5 cannot be negligent as a matter of law. (Some other states set this age as high as 7 years old.) Between 5-14, a jury must answer whether a reasonable child of the same age and abilities would have appreciated the danger. Over 14, the child is presumed to have the capacity to know right and wrong and appreciate dangers. Ultimately, if the child is under 5, or a jury decides the child was too young to appreciate the danger, the landowner may be held liable for the drowning even though the pool use was unauthorized by the landowner.

How Often Do Drownings Occur in the United States?

On average, 3400 people drown in the United States each year. It is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4.

Don’t wait any longer to speak with a Houston drowning accident lawyer

For any summertime tragedy we offer our solace. Drowning accidents can be harrowing, and the pain of their aftermath only magnifies the incident itself. However, for families left behind, it is important to know what your rights are — and what options are available to you and your family members within the scope of the law.

For more than 40 years, Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury and Accident Lawyers have been synonymous with strong, compassionate legal representation across the Houston metropolitan area. We bring a personal approach to our accident law practice — treating each client with the same commitment, dedication, and support that we would expect our own families to receive.

You don’t have to face this incredibly trying time alone. If you need guidance, we can help! Call us at (713) 932-0777 to speak with a seasoned Houston drowning accident lawyer about your case.

We know how to build strong cases that put our clients first. Besides swimming pool accident claims, our team of Houston personal injury attorneys also handles a variety of other practice areas, including car accidents, truck accidents, work-related injuries, dog bites, and more.



If you have a personal injury case and would like to know whether it is something that our law firm can help you with, please fill out the form to the right and submit your information or pick up the phone and call us between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM on Monday through Thursday and 8:30 AM  and 5:00 PM on Friday and out intake team can go help evaluate your case and determine who the best person is for you to talk to about your case. Consultations are 100% free and you have no obligation to hire us.


Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., rooted in Christian values, exclusively handles personal injury cases, advocating for the rights of accident and negligence victims. Our Houston-based team, dedicated to compassion and excellence, handles cases across car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and other types of cases with a commitment to personalized care. Upholding integrity and client-focused service, we strive for impactful legal outcomes. For a detailed understanding of our approach and team, visit our attorneys page.

Contact us for a free case assessment.