Child Suffers Devastating Brain Injury After Nearly Drowning In Hot Tub
The family of a child who suffered a severe brain injury after nearly drowning is set to begin. The incident occurred at a hotel plaza in a hot tub that was set aside for guests. The six-year-old child accessed the hot tub and then suffered a seizure. The resulting injuries will severely reduce the child’s quality of life. But is the hotel responsible?
The case will come down to…
The plaintiffs allege that the child suffered a seizure due to the excessively hot temperature of the hot tub. The plaintiffs are represented by a lawyer who won California’s prestigious “Attorney of the Year” award, but even that may not save this case from the many hurdles it faces.
The defense contends that the child died not because of the excessive heat of their jacuzzi, but because of a pre-existing viral condition called Hand Foot and Mouth disease.
The verdict will depend on which of these arguments is the most likely.
Who has the stronger argument?
We don’t know much about what the plaintiffs will argue, but it is more likely than not, they will find recommended medical limits for jacuzzis which stipulate than any adult should be safe in a hot tub of no more than 104℉ which is considered safe for a healthy adult. If the hot tub was over 104℉, then the plaintiffs may be able to successfully argue that the hot tub was maintained at unsafe temperatures and that such an incident was inevitable. Someone young, who doesn’t have the same tolerances as an adult, provided the litmus for the unsafe conditions, and now the defendants are liable because they did not follow medical safety guidelines.
The defense will provide evidence that a pre-existing viral infection contributed to the child’s untimely demise. Even if the child did have a pre-existing viral infection, it doesn’t mean that maintaining a hot tub at a temperature discouraged by medical professionals didn’t contribute to the child’s seizure.
The burden of proof, of course, is on the plaintiffs to show that the hotel maintained the hot tub unsafely and if it wasn’t this child who suffered because of it, it surely would have been someone else. But without providing evidence that the hot tub was maintained at greater than 104℉, the plaintiff’s lawsuit will fail.
In this case, the defense has taken the position that a contributing factor led to the child’s seizure. This is not as strong an argument as saying that the defendant did not maintain the temperature of the jacuzzi safely. The argument only muddies the waters. On the other hand, jacuzzis do warn those with pre-existing conditions to use caution when using. Children also have lower thresholds than adults. Finally, Hand Foot and Mouth disease has obvious warning signs such as a rash that the parents could have easily spotted.
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