Earlier this month, a diver died after being pinned against a sea wall at La Jolla Shores. He was found unconscious, and lifeguards were unable to revive him. This recent drowning accident should raise awareness about the dangers of diving in California.
Drowning is a serious concern in southern California, especially as the weather grows warmer and people flock to the beaches. Drowning cases have a statute of limitations in California. Since you only have two years from the date of the accident to file an accidental death claim, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for filing a lawsuit.
Dangerous Waters in La Jolla
A day after the accident, UT San Diego identified the diver as Lawrence Edward Yates of Chula Vista. The newspaper explained that the 54-year-old Yates had been scuba diving with a partner “at the south end of the Shores about 12:50 p.m.” Suddenly, rough waters led to wave action, which “pinned him against the sea wall,” according to authorities who later investigated Yates’ death.
The accident occurred at the south end of La Jolla Shores. Lifeguard Lieutenant John Everhart said that the area has relatively shallow water, but it’s also an area that “cannot be seen by lifeguards.”
After being pinned to the sea wall, neither Yates nor his diving partner were about to free him from the extreme water pressure. Lifeguards and bystanders also rushed to help Yates, but by the time he was finally brought to shore, he was unconscious. Some of the rescuers even had dive scooters, but they weren’t able to free Yates in time. The lifeguards performed CPR, and emergency medical responders transported Yates to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Yates died at the hospital later that afternoon.
This isn’t the first dangerous incident to occur at La Jolla Shores. In fact, this year has seen quite a few near-drownings. In February of this year, NBC San Diego reported that a 61-year-old surfer nearly drowned after lifeguards found him face-down in the water. The lifeguards at the scene pulled the surfer out of the water to find that he had no pulse. They shocked him with a defibrillator, and the man started breathing again. By the time emergency medical responders arrived, the surfer had regained consciousness.
However, many aren’t as lucky as the rescued surfer, Yates included. A drowning in January 2013 around the same area suggests that Yates’ death in the dangerous waters at La Jolla Shores may have been foreseeable. Back in January, a surfer saw the body of a 19-year-old woman floating near La Jolla Shores. Lifeguards carried her out of the water, but she had already drowned.
Diving Safety Tips
Since California has so many miles of coastline where visitors enjoy swimming, diving, and other water sports, the California Department of Parks and Recreation provides a list of important safety tips. Before going into the water, it’s important to know the inherent risks of diving, and to pay attention to these important safety concerns:
· Always dive to your ability, training level, and experience level. If you try to dive beyond what your abilities, you could put yourself at serious risk.
· Always check diving and weather conditions before you go, along with underwater visibility and the currents. This is extremely important, because strong currents can endanger divers’ lives.
· Always dive with a partner or buddy.
· Agree to an emergency plan with your buddy before diving.
· Always know your entry and exit points for your dive.
· Plan your dive ahead of time, and follow that plan.
If you have lost a loved one because of a drowning accident, you could be eligible for compensation. A licensed injury attorney can answer your questions. Contact us today.