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Girl, 11, Electrocuted in Swimming Pool

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on July 19, 2013 11:49 AM

An 11-year-old girl was fatally electrocuted in a swimming pool when she was practicing with her team at a local swim club. Authorities are investigating what caused the accident.

Lauren Cecil of Lexington, North Carolina, was swimming with two other girls when a power line snapped and fell to the ground at the swim club Tuesday night, sending an electric current into the water, reports WGHP-TV. Lauren was electrocuted just as she tried to get out of the pool.

While you may be tempted to call this a "freak accident," it's important to realize that swimming electrocutions happen more often than you may think.

Failed Connector to Blame

In the pool electrocution, the county fire marshal told WFMY-TV that a "side by side connector" that held two overhead power lines together somehow failed. That caused the power line to fall to the ground; electricity traveled through the ground and into the pool.

Lifeguards were able to get Lauren out of the water and perform CPR, but she was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The city of Lexington owns the power lines, WFMY reports. But city officials declined to comment about the incident, citing the pending investigation.

Who's Liable?

As officials continue to look into the accident, Lauren Cecil's parents may eventually think about bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against whomever is deemed responsible.

For example, Lauren's parents could potentially file a wrongful death claim against the city, if it's revealed that it failed to properly maintain the "side by side connector" or the overhead electrical wires.

Another potential route to legal recovery could be under a theory of premises liability, if the investigation finds the swim club somehow failed to exercise reasonable care in keeping its premises safe.

But the investigation will likely focus on what caused the power line connector to allegedly fail. The swim club's president told WGHP there were "No storms, no wind... Nothing that we could tell whatsoever... It was just out of the blue."

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