Collin Campbell, an experienced triathlete, was competing in a triathlon on Sunday, February 11, 2016, at Lake Livingston. The 27-year old Campbell was considered a strong swimmer by his family, friends, and trainers. He was slated to compete in an upcoming Ironman race in North Carolina.
Even when a triathlete like Collin Campbell is known to be strong and experienced, those responsible for organizing a triathlon event nevertheless have a duty to exercise reasonable care in keeping participants safe during the event. For example, if there was some sort of water hazard that contributed to Campbell's untimely demise, organizers of the event bore responsibility for ensuring that participants were at least aware of the issue. Moreover, if the potential water hazard was more significant, organizers would have borne the responsibility to alter the course of take some other type of remedial action to protect appropriately participants in the competition.
At this juncture, when it comes to the death of Collin Campbell, no information is yet available pertaining to what happened when the young man was in the water. The investigation is expected to continue.
What appears to be clear at this juncture is the absence of relief crews on the water at the time of the event. In other words, it is possible that the organizers of the event did not have safety or relief personnel dispatched on the water during the event, but rather had them all sequestered on the shore.
This situation is virtually underscored by the lag between the time Collin Campbell was last seen in the water at about 8:30 in the morning and the time his body was finally retrieved from the lake at approximately 5:00 in the evening.
The need for on-water safety personal is important in triathlons. Even the strongest swimmers can experience cramping or an unexpected event can arise on open water.
Triathlon Water Safety Protocols
In addition to the importance of on-water safety personnel during the water component of a triathlon, other safety protocols are implemented by responsible event organizers. These include thorough briefing of all participants on water conditions, including obstacles and temperature.
There must be an appropriate number of water safety personnel, each with specifically assigned task. For example, this can include safety crew members on the water was well as others perched at strategic positions on the shoreline who have the focused task of tracking the individual participants. There must be a reliable communication system in place between water and shoreline safety teams.
A screening process should be in place for any part of the team responsible for safety-related issues during the water element of a triathlon. The training must be multi-faceted, including life saving techniques but also site-specific instruction.
A specific emergency action plan must be developed, committed to writing and provided to key personnel well in advance of the event. Those individuals charged with participant safety must be well-briefed on the contents of the emergency plan.
Wrongful Death Case
The possibility exists that what legally is known as a wrongful death lawsuit is a possibility when a triathlon participant like Collin Campbell dies during an event. At its essence, a wrongful death case is brought when a third party is negligent in some manner and that negligence results in the death of a family member.
For example, if the organizers of a triathlon that includes a water segment in an open lake, the need for proper safety precautions and protocols must be in place. If the organizers fail to implement the safety protocols, and a death occurs, the organizers may be deemed negligent.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?
Certain family members, identified by statute, are able to lodge a wrongful death lawsuit. Using the incident involving Collin Campbell as an example, because he is unmarried, his parents would be in a position to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The compensation available to family members in a wrongful death lawsuit depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of an individual case. Compensation can include money for a variety of losses that include:
- funeral expenses
- medical expenses
- loss of love and companionship
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a wrongful death lawsuit, what are known as punitive damages may be awarded by a court. Punitive damages represents additional compensation, above and beyond that awarded for actual damages.
Punitive damages are awarded in a situation in which the conduct of the defendant is particularly reckless. For example, if the organizers of a triathlon know of a water hazard and do nothing to protect swimmers from that obstacle, their conduct may be deemed particularly egregious, warranting an award of punitive damages.
Retaining a Lake Livingston Drowning Lawyer
The first step in obtaining skilled, experienced representation from a Lake Livingston drowning lawyer is scheduling an initial consultation. The legal team at The Doan Law Firm has Lake Livingston drowning lawyers on its legal team. An appointment with a wrongful death lawyer at The Doan Law Firm can be scheduled by calling 800-863-9110. The hotline is answered 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.