Swimming Pool Deaths and Injuries - Georgia State Law - Part II
What is ordinary diligence for a Georgia swimming pool injury?
Georgia law, "ordinary diligence is that degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances." O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2. "Negligence consists either of the omission to do an act which ought to be done, or the omission to perform properly what one undertakes to do." Womack v. Central Georgia Gas Company, 85 Ga. App. 799 (1952).
What constitutes ordinary care depends on the circumstances of each case; it is a relative and not an absolute term. Brown v. Mayor of Athens, 47 Ga. App. 820 (1933). Further, the exercise of ordinary care requires exercising the degree of caution commensurate with the danger involved. Lunsford v. Childs, 107 Ga. App. 210 (1963).
Why a babysitter can be held responsible for the drowning of a child.
As stated in the Lunsford case, ordinary care requires exercising that degree of caution commensurate with the danger involved. There are very few situations presenting a more clear and palpable risk than a four-year-old child in a swimming pool. Such a situation requires, under any type of reasonable standard, nearly constant monitoring and supervision. The babysitter and her sister only failed to provide such monitoring and supervision, but apparently neglected to check on the child for a lengthy period of time. By the time the babysitter returned to the pool area, the child had been at the bottom of the pool long enough to deprive her of oxygen to the point she was unable to be resuscitated.
What compensation is allowed for a swimming pool drowning in Georgia?
Now as a parent myself, I am well aware there is no monetary compensation that will ever replace the life of a child. Human life is priceless. However, the State of Georgia has provided some guidelines for financial compensation in the event of the loss of a human life.
O.C.G.A. (Georgia State Statute) § 19-7-1(c) provides:
(1) In every case of the homicide of a child, minor or sui juris, there shall be some party entitled to recover the full value of the life of the child, either as provided in this Code section or as provided in Chapter 4 of Title 51.
(2) If the deceased child does not leave a spouse or child, the right of recovery shall be in the parent or parents, if any, given such a right by this paragraph as follows:
(A) If the parents are living together and not divorced, the right shall be in the parents jointly.
My demand letter to the insurance company who held the homeowner's policy of the babysitter went on to cite case law that tried to calculate the value of the life of a child. For obvious reasons, I decline to provide those details in this blog.
NEXT: Swimming Pool Deaths and Injuries - Georgia State Law - Part III
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