Swimming pool accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, neck and head injuries, and in some cases drowning. Our law firm is working with some of the more experienced attorneys, who handle swimming pool lawsuits, and there are no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award. Call us toll-free or contact us online for a free consultation.
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According to the CDC there are over 10 million residential pools and over 300,000 public pools. Additionally, every year hundreds of millions of Americans go swimming at beaches (i). These attractions provide a great place to have fun but they can also present a danger if they are not properly maintained and supervised.
Where Do Swimming Pool Accidents Occur?
Swimming accidents can occur on private and public property. For example, a large number of homeowners maintain above-ground or in-ground swimming pools. Swimming areas are also commonly found at amusement parks, apartment complexes, hotels, motels, private beaches, and waterparks. Many states and towns also maintain swimming areas at parks and schools as well as beaches at lakes, rivers, and the ocean. The owners of these attractions are required by law to take reasonable steps to ensure safety. This duty requires adequate maintenance, warnings, and supervision. If you have been injured while swimming, whether it happened at the beach, in a hot tub, Jacuzzi, pool, or spa, you may be entitled to recover money for your injuries.
Common Types of Swimming Pool Negligence
As stated above, property owners have a duty to properly maintain, warn, and supervise their swimming areas. Failure to take these reasonable steps towards safety may mean that they were negligent and therefore at fault for your injuries. When considering maintenance, warnings, and supervision property owners should always err on the side of caution.
Failure to maintain: Swimming pool owners should inspect their property on a regular basis, maintain their pool, and address any dangerous conditions. One aspect of maintenance is keeping the water sanitary. They should clean the filter and treat the water with chemicals to ensure that swimmers will not become sick from recreational water illness. Also, pool chemicals should be stored out of the reach of children. Maintenance also includes recognizing and fixing dangerous conditions. Swimming pool drains can be a serious danger if the drain cover is broken, defective, or not in compliance with the law. Pools drains have caused serious injuries and even death because the suction created by the drain has trapped people under the water. In 2008, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act which provides that pools in every state must meet certain requirements. The two main requirements are that (1) all outdoor pools must be designed to prevent children from gaining unsupervised access and (2) they must be equipped with drains designed to prevent entrapment under the water (ii).
Two easy ways to prevent children from gaining unsupervised access are providing pool covers or surrounding the area with a fence and gate. Pool owners may be at fault for injuries if they do not take these reasonable steps to ensure the safety of children. Additionally, they must maintain their covers as well as any fences or gates that surround their pool. Other dangerous conditions include diving boards and slides. This equipment should be inspected regularly because back, spinal cord, neck, and head injuries occur every year due to diving board and slide use.
Property owners also need to be aware of the dangers of electricity and water. This means addressing the dangers of overhead and underground wires. All electrical connections should comply with state and local codes and be properly grounded. Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices, like GFCI outlets and breakers, are typically used with hot tubs and pools in order to prevent electrocution. Additionally, electrical equipment such as lawn equipment or stereos should be kept away from the water.
The duty to maintain also includes the duty to provide swimming pool safety equipment. A life ring and shepherd’s hook should be easily accessible to anyone who needs them. Also, a First Aid Kit should be close at hand. Finally, local emergency numbers should be posted in case an accident occurs.
Failure to warn: Swimming pools by their very nature are dangerous and therefore adequate warnings are always necessary. Typically, there should be warnings about the danger of running, number of people allowed in the water, slippery surfaces, and instruct that supervision is required. Additionally, the depths of the water should be marked accurately and “no diving” warnings should be posted appropriately. Many swimming areas provide a variety of other warnings because each area is different and therefore poses unique risks. Every owner should consider the unique risks of their pool and provide the appropriate warnings. Finally, hot tubs require additional warnings concerning alcohol, use by people with certain health conditions, and use by pregnant women.
Negligent supervision or lack of supervision: Supervision is always a suggested precaution for swimmers and in some cases supervision may be necessary. Lifeguards may be required at certain places like amusement parks, beaches, public pools, and water parks. When a lifeguard is required they must be properly trained and act reasonably while on duty. This means they must enforce the pool rules, look for swimmers in danger, and make reasonable efforts to rescue anyone in danger. Property owners may be at fault for swimming injuries if their pools are overcrowded or if they did not provide the appropriate number of lifeguards. Also, lifeguards who are on duty or providing swimming lessons should be able to recognize the signs water intoxication, especially among children, and take steps to protect the swimmer.
Common Swimming Pool Injuries
- Recreational water illness.
- Water intoxication (water poisoning), especially in children.
- Electric shock and electrocution.
- Slip and falls.
- Broken bones.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Neck and head injuries.
- Near-drowning and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Deprivation of oxygen causing brain damage. A person suffers brain damage
after about 4 minutes without oxygen.
- Drowning and wrongful death.
Swimming Pool Dangers to Children
Government statistics indicate that children face the greatest risk of swimming pool injuries and drowning accidents. Water poses a great risk to children because they do not understand the dangers of water and may not know how to swim or may not be strong swimmers. According to the CDC, children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest rates of drowning. Additionally, it is the second-leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 14 (iii). In 2004 alone, 761 children under the age of 15 died because of drowning accidents (iv). Swimming areas need to be equipped with safeguards to protect children and children should always be supervised.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Swimming Pool Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered serious swimming injuries, then you should talk to an attorney about recovering for hospital bills, pain and suffering or other losses. We are working with swimming pool lawyers who have experience handling these types of cases and can give you important personal and legal advice. These drowning lawyers can file a swimming pool lawsuit on your behalf and there are no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award.
- (i) Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- (ii) Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- (iii) Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- (iv) Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.