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21-Year-Old Man Drowns on Public Beach

21-Year-Old Man Drowns on Public Beach

H.K. a 21 year-old man drowned in front of family members in Lake Ontario, during a day when it was unsafe to swim in the water due to currents and high waves. Despite other near-drownings just prior to his death, the Lifeguards on duty chose to keep the beach open to swimmers.

The City of Toronto was proven to be negligent and liable by the Bogoroch team and had to pay a significant sum in damages to H.K.’s family.

The Nature of the Case

H.K. along with his parents, four sibling and cousins were at the beach to enjoy a beautiful day and have a picnic. H.K. and his brothers and cousins were in the water about 10 meters (30 feet) from the shore for approximately half an hour when the height of the waves and strength of the currents drastically changed.

The waves went from 1 foot high to over 6 feet and the corresponding current below the water swirled with much greater force and energy.

H.K.’s brother S. was forced against some rocks, but was able to pull himself on top of them, while his cousin J. nearly drowned. While J. was assisted by a lifeguard to safety, H.K. went under and could no longer be seen.

Prior to H.K going under, a swimmer at the beach, who happened to be a Certified lifeguard attempted to assist in the rescue by diving for H.K. but was told to get out of the water by a lifeguard on duty. H.K.’s other brother called out to a female lifeguard on duty to help his brother – but she did not pay attention to, or help him.

After a discussion of nearly 4 minutes, she attempted to reach H.K. She began to swim toward him, where she had seen him in the water with arms flailing. During her approach, she stopped to tell another man to not jump into the water. During her approach, H.K. went unconscious and sank into the water.

A rescue boat was brought to the scene, but time had passed (it takes only 1 minute for brain damage to ensue in an adult lacking oxygen), and the waves proved too forceful to make an attempt at a rescue.

H.K. was found the next morning, his body wedged between two rocks.

H.K.’s family didn’t know it – but just prior to their family encountering difficulty in the water, several other patrons on the beach had also required assistance from the lifeguards on duty. Just 15 minutes prior to H.K. drowning, two children had been rescued in similar circumstances.

But the lifeguards had not protected the visitors to the beach that day – they left the beach area open to swimmers unduly putting others’ lives at risk. Due to the negligence of the City and lack of safety protocol a family lost a son, brother and cousin.

The Bogoroch team:

  • Proved negligence on behalf of the City had to be proven
  • Ensured a Statement of Claim was issued
  • Conducted extensive Discoveries with all available witnesses
  • Commissioned the drafting of actuarial reports proving lost support income
  • Established multiple counts of liability by an Aquatic Risk Management Consultant

The Resolution

Bogoroch & Associates proved that the City failed to act and was the primary cause of H.K.’s death. They did so by issuing a Statement of Claim and conducting many Discoveries with all available witnesses to get a clear understanding of the events of that day. As H.K. helped support his family as a welder, an actuarial report was developed noting the loss of future income to his parents and siblings.

The case was brought before a pre-trial judge and was ultimately won on the findings of a report that Bogoroch & Associates had developed by an Aquatic Risk Management Consultant who clearly outlined the, not one, but numerous failings by the lifeguards on duty and the City of Toronto.

The defendants tried to argue that H.K. assumed a certain level of risk by voluntarily entering the water, and therefore the City could not be held accountable for that risk. The defendants had also solicited an expert to assist in proving their case, however, no report had been delivered to them and they were unprepared for trial.

Given the lack of defendant evidence, and the depth of the plaintiff’s case, with the assistance of the Bogoroch team, the judge had to acknowledge that the City was unequivocally responsible for H.K.’s death.

Nothing could replace the loss of this mans life, however, the settlement assisted with the financial strain of his loss to the family.

*Please note that the settlement amounts will vary from case to case and are not reflective of what your case may be worth.