Injuries Caused By Swimming Pools
Swimming pool accidents can lead to injuries or even death. In certain situations, the accident is the fault of the owner or operator of the pool, and you may be able to recover for your injuries under premises liability law.
Unfortunately, drownings occur at an alarmingly high rate. In 2015, drowning accounted for 7% of all injury-related deaths. In the united states, approximately 3,500 lives are lost per year due to drowning, coming out to just under ten deaths a day. It’s also important to realize that children are more prone to drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for American children between the ages of 1 to 4. It is also the second-highest cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 15.
Drownings that don’t result in deaths can still result in serious injuries. These injuries include brain and lung damage.
Slip and Falls
The area around a pool can often become slippery due to a pool’s water. When someone slips near a pool, they can suffer various injuries, including broken bones and torn ligaments.
When a person is unaware of the pool’s depth, they may dive in without hesitation. If the pool is more shallow than anticipated, they crash into the bottom or even the pool’s walls. This can result in broken bones and possibly lead to drowning if the diver is knocked unconscious.
6 Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries
Owners and operators of swimming pools have many responsibilities when it comes to running a swimming pool. Below is a list of several things that can go wrong and cause the owner/operator to be responsible for injuries suffered.
1. Lack of Proper Safety Equipment
Owners and operators should have appropriate first-aid kits and automatic external defibrillators available.
2. Failure to Supervise
When a pool provides a lifeguard, the lifeguard must be adequately trained and perform their duties properly. Owners of private facilities often have a responsibility to supervise guests and swimmers to protect them from injury and drowning.
3. Failure to Warn
Pool owners or managers must warn swimmers when there is no lifeguard. Also, there must be signs adequately warning guests about the depth of water.
4. Lack of Fencing
Swimming pools, jacuzzis, and hot tubs may be an attractive nuisance that draws children. As a result, if the pools are accessible by children, the landowner must have a fence to limit their responsibility. Pools without fencing are 60% more likely to involve a drowning.
5. Failure to Maintain
Owners and operators of swimming pools may be liable if they do not adequately maintain their premises. This includes cleaning the water with the appropriate chemicals, ensuring surfaces are not slippery when wet, and diving boards and slides must be safe to use.
6. Defective Equipment
Equipment such as pool drains, pool heaters, and ladders may be dangerous and cause injuries. The owners and operators must ensure all pool equipment is working correctly to avoid responsibility for defective equipment.
4 Types Of Lawsuits That Can Be Filed
There are three general causes of action available for a drowning victim. The owner, operator, or manufacturer can be held responsible under:
● Premises liability: Owners are responsible for dangerous conditions or hazards on their land. The extent of their liability will depend on whether the harmed party was welcomed on their land or not. Each state classified parties differently, but generally, somebody invited onto the land is completely protected for any harm suffered. A pool is a dangerous condition when it has dangers the owner knew or should have known about. Owners and operators are required to take reasonable steps to ensure their pools are safe.
● Product liability: When a pool or pool equipment is defective, the owner and manufacturer may be held liable. There is a defect when a pool is incorrectly designed, constructed improperly, or there is a failure to warn of the dangers, including the pool’s depth.
● Negligence: Owners and operators must act reasonably in their ownership and maintenance of the pools, and it’s immediate surroundings.
● Wrongful Death: If the drowning causes a death, the victim’s family may bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Step-By-Step Litigation of a Swimming Pool Injury Case
Step 1 - Keeping track of medical records
You begin the process of a pool injury case as any other personal injury case, by filing a lawsuit. With this in mind, it is helpful to record any medical treatment you have had and any other consequences from your injury. Keep track of your doctor visits, days missed from work, and lost wages. Tracking this information is much easier than backtracking to figure out this information later on.
Step 2 - Finding a lawyer
The next step in a swimming pool case is finding a lawyer to advocate for you. When looking for a lawyer, don’t just type into Google “personal injury lawyer.” It’s just too broad. You want expertise specifically within the premises liability, and precisely the pool injury space. Ideally, it would be great to find a lawyer who has already tried a case similar to your specific situation.
Step 3 - filing The Lawsuit
As the injury lawsuit moves along, your involvement will be minimal. Once the case is filed, the discovery stage comes next, during which your attorney will receive requests for information from the defendant’s attorney. Many times, your attorney will be contacting you to collect the information required to respond. You may have to attend a deposition where you will answer questions regarding the accident and your injuries.
Step 4 - Negotiation, Settlement, and Trial
Once the discovery process is over, the sides will truly begin negotiating. This process can be over quickly or be a long, drawn-out process. Remember, your attorney is required to advise you of any offer the defense makes. If you cannot reach an agreement, the sides will move forward to court assisted settlement discussions involving mediations or settlement conferences with the court. If these options fail, then the court will order an arbitration or have a trial.
Finding The Right Lawyer For Your Swimming Pool Injury Case
There are many personal injury law firms, including huge law firms, settlement mills, and solo practitioners. This makes picking an attorney difficult because there are so many options. Your attorney will be your go-to person until the case is over for legal questions and often as someone to lean on. Attorneys often say they have two jobs, to be their client’s attorney and therapist. Therefore, it is essential to pick an attorney you feel comfortable with and that you can trust.