The below lesson is the third of 16 lessons that are included in Attorney Charles Boyk’s new book, I’ve Stood In Your Shoes, explaining his personal experience with child accidents. You can find the previous lessons in our blog section.
When you are going through a traumatic experience such as a serious child accident, you are most likely feeling awful grieving. I know exactly how you feel, after spending three weeks living out of Joshua's hospital room, sleeping and waking up still wondering how this has actually happened.
It was also difficult to not be in control in this situation. I wanted to try to fix what I could, but instead I felt helpless. It was difficult for me to accept that Joshua’s injury actually happened and that there was nothing I could do to fix it.
The first step for me in the grieving process was to accept what had happened. This wasn’t a story that you hear in the news, this was actually happening to me. After I accepted this fact, I started to wonder how this happened. How did Joshua fall off of the diving board? Was the diving board not structurally sound?
To figure out the answers to the important questions of “Who, What, Where, Why, and How” it is necessary to have a team of professionals to help you do so. Knowledgeable attorneys can look into the accident, perform and investigation, and find the cause of the accident.
I did not have any personal experience with diving board regulations, and I rarely visited the pool outside of my children’s swim meets, so I was not sure whether the board was dangerous or not. I had however presumed that the board was safe just because I figured the swimming pool was subject to safety inspections, so it had to be, right? I soon found out that just because a company makes a product does not mean that the place or product is safe.
I wanted to know whether or not this board was safe and met regulations. I began to do just what I would for one of my clients and went through my lawyer checklist: what does the Ohio Revised Code say about diving boards? How about the Ohio Administrative Code regulations? Are there industry standards? Has this issue been addressed in Ohio Supreme Court or lower district courts? Who are the experts in the field and how do I reach them?
I was not the only one asking these questions. Attorneys Mike Bruno and Nick Dodosh were working overtime to find the answers to these questions. I also had someone visit the pool to take photos and estimate some measurements. I then studies the photos and began to notice the guardrails on the top of the diving board that were meant to keep someone from falling off, did not even extend to the edge of the water. Instead, these guardrails stopped a few feet short of the edge of the water, exposing people to falling on the concrete, just like Joshua.
Lesson to be learned: While grieving is normal and important, it is also important for you to start asking the “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” questions.
I realized that although I was going through a very difficult grieving process, it was still imperative that I look into the situation of the accident with the help of an experienced lawyer. Finding the answers to difficult questions can help you to achieve justice, which can be an important part of the recovery process.