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Drowning in park raises liability issues for city near Mesquite

A tragedy happened recently near Mesquite, Texas, when a child drowned in a pond adjacent to a park. The father of the child momentarily turned his attention away from his daughter. She discovered a path that led to the pond, which is up to eight feet deep in places.

The ensuing lawsuit claims that the father was unaware of the pond’s existence because of its location behind a low hill that blocked his view of it and it was recently constructed. He also states that there were no warning signs at the pond alerting visitors that it was not suitable for swimming.

The victim’s parents have filed a wrongful death action against the city of Balch Springs, Texas, claiming that the city was negligent for not taking sufficient steps to prevent people from trying to swim in the pond.

For its part, the city has claimed that the pond where the tragic death occurred is not meant for swimming. But it wasn’t until the day after the drowning that the city posted multiple “no swimming” signs around the water.

The family has accused the city of owing a duty to people in the park to prevent them from swimming in the pond. They have also raised the argument that by the absence of signs warning people not to swim in it, the city failed to foresee that people, including children, would in fact enter the pond. Indeed, the lawsuit alleges that on the day of the drowning, other adults were in the pond.

When another party fails to properly warn or protect others of danger, it may be liable for compensation, pain and suffering, and other damages to those who are injured or die as a result of the unsafe conditions.

Source: KHOU, "Family suing Balch Springs after daughter drowns in park's pond," Jenny Doren, June 19, 2014

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