Swimming pools can be a great source of relaxation or comfort on a hot summer day. Parents can take their children out in hopes of kicking back to enjoy the sun. However, it is unsettling how many swimming pool accidents occur each year – many of them with children as the victims. According to Pool Safely, at least 148 children under the age of 15 fatally drowned in pools and spas in the summer of 2018. This is a very troubling statistic but it highlights just how dangerous swimming pools can be.
There are many different causes of swimming pool accidents which we will discuss, but all of them can carry the potential to cause serious injury or even death. Whether the injury occurred at a public or private swimming pool, you may have a valid case where you can be fairly compensated for your losses and damages.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact our office today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pools, public or private, have countless hazards in plain sight. Depending on the equipment, the pool and equipment’s maintenance, security, and some other factors, any accident could occur. Some of the most common types of swimming pool accidents include the following:
- Negligent supervision – It only takes minutes for a person to drown. If the lifeguards at a particular pool are distracted, daydreaming, or somehow not doing their job, a person can drown or get in some other type of accident very quickly.
- Defective equipment – Pool equipment includes pool ladders, diving boards, drains, railings, and more. If they malfunction or break suddenly, they can result in a serious or fatal accident. For instance, a person using a damaged diving board could cause them to unexpectedly and painfully fall in the water and suffer any number of traumatic injuries.
- Slip and falls or trip and falls – These accidents can occur on the pool deck due to slick surfaces or objects obstructing a pathway. The pool staff must make sure that the area is safe to walk around. When they fail to do so, people can break or sprain bones, get a concussion, and more.
- Inadequate security or equipment – Pools should have the basic protections that keep swimmers safe. Examples of lacking such protections includes no fence around the pool, no ladders, excessively shallow deep-ends, no anti-entrapment devices, and more.
- Circulation entrapment – Pool drains are capable of extremely strong suction pressure. When a person is entrapped due to this pressure, they can be disemboweled or experience an amputation.
Injuries from Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents can cause several injuries depending on the type of accident, as different accidents affect different parts of the body. Keep in mind that any of these accidents can cause long-term psychological damage such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the effect of the trauma of the accident.
Inadequate supervision could cause many types of injuries since anything can occur in the absence of proper supervision. Most notably, people drown much more easily in this scenario. The same goes for inadequate security; people may sneak into the pool after-hours when no one is there to supervise them if fences are defective or lacking. A slip and fall or trip and fall can cause broken bones, sprains, bruising, cuts, concussion, traumatic brain injury, skull fracture, or spinal cord injury.
Defective equipment occurs when some of the pool’s facilities or equipment are vulnerable to malfunction or break. If a pool ladder or railing suddenly breaks off, a person may be caught off guard, struggle, and perhaps even drown. It is the job of the pool’s staff to maintain and inspect these pieces of equipment so that the public is safe when using them. If they are not maintained, then people can drown, get a concussion, a spinal cord injury from a sudden drop from a defective diving board, and more.
Circulation entrapment can cause serious damage or even death when the drain cover breaks and a person is stuck at the bottom of the pool. The suction force that the drain exerts can be 350 pounds of pressure for an 8-inch main drain with a standard pump. In this case, a person can tragically drown, be disemboweled if their bottom is in contact with the drain, or they may require an amputation if a limb is in contact.
Who Can I File a Claim Against?
It may be overwhelming to consider filing a claim against someone after such a traumatic event, but doing so can help you recover mentally and financially. We will help you find the guilty party in your accident so that you can get justice for yourself. If you are unsure of who may be the liable party, we will assist you by investigating the accident, speaking to witnesses, and looking at the facts.
Largely, premises liability plays a role in finding liability in public swimming pool accidents. The owner of the property could be held liable for negligence if certain accidents occur there, such as broken equipment, lack of warning signs in the presence of a hazard, or a lack of emergency safety equipment. If a piece of equipment is defective, it could be a matter of product liability also. If the defect was in the manufacturing or the design, then the manufacturer, vendor, or other agent in the chain of distribution could be liable for releasing a dangerous product to the public. If the defect was due to improper maintenance or failure to inspect, then the pool owner may be liable for negligence in failing to do so.
For private pools, the same notion applies in that their swimming pools must be kept safe for invitees and licensees, the two types of entrants that are afforded the highest duty of care. This duty of care must be upheld and they must warn others of potential hazards, otherwise they can be found liable for negligence. For trespassers, though, they owe no duty of care except for the fact that they cannot intentionally inflict harm on them.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
A pool accident can cause numerous physical damages as well as mental and financial damages. After a successful claim against the defendant, you can recover some monetary damages to help you heal after the accident. Some common damages that can be recovered after a pool accident include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you or a loved one has been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.