We all enjoy cooling off and splashing around swimming pools, especially during hot summer. They extend never-ending fun and recreation irrespective of age and gender. No wonder, where there is fun, there is danger. Swimming pools are not an exception too. In a matter of no time, they could become a hotspot for misfortunes and spin your life upside down.
The most common accidents in swimming pools are
- Near drowning
- Slips and falls
Many swimming pool accidents involve drains that have a strong backflow to the filter system. It causes drawing the pool users into the drain and drowning or sucking organs into it.
Globally, drowning ranks first among these and is a leading cause of unintentional deaths. Between 2005 and 2014 there were approximately 10 unintentional drownings reported every day in the United States. Children are more inclined to swimming pool accidents when compared to adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 60% of fatal drownings of 0–4-year-old children happen in swimming pools.
In this blog, we would breeze into a few Q & A related to swimming pool accidents with a keen emphasis on premises liability.
Let’s first check out what are the common causes of swimming pool accidents.
- Not being able to swim
Enjoying a pool without swimming skills is a risky affair and it is the leading cause for swimming pool mishaps.
- Lack of supervision
Lack of caretaking stem swimming pool accidents and deaths in children. They may not anticipate the hidden danger in the swimming pools and end up drowning.
- Missing of fences around pools
A swimming pool accident does not always happen while people try to have fun in it. Missing of fencing around the pool may also trigger fall and drowning. Especially when children play around the pools without close supervision.
- Not wearing life jackets
Not having swimming skills and not wearing a life jacket is always horrifying conjunction. Lack of life jackets contributes to drowning accidents at the pools.
- Wet surfaces
As discussed above, slips and falls are also one of the causes of swimming pool accidents. Wet surfaces around the pools are unavoidable which may turn out dangerous for the users.
- Improper usage of slides and diving boards
Slides and diving boards when could invite life-threatening dangers when used improperly. These adventures may end up even in catastrophic injuries and death.
- Prescription Medicines
Certain prescription medications present side effects that may mimic the effects of alcohol. Individuals under such medications are highly prone to drowning or near-drowning at swimming pools.
- Alcohol and drugs
Having fun at the pools under the influence of alcohol or drugs is another cause of swimming pool accidents in adolescents and adults. It affects the balance and coordination of the body and also induces risk-taking behavior thereby ending up in danger.
Common Injuries in Swimming Pool Accidents
Though any type of injury is possible while enjoying in a swimming pool, the following ones are the severe ones.
- Bone fractures
- Cuts and bruises
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Pulmonary damages
- Neurological damages
- Circulation Entrapment Injuries
Are you injured in a swimming pool? Is your loved one a victim? The following Q & A would help you know more about the premises liability in swimming pool injuries.
- What should I do immediately after a swimming pool accident?
Following an injury, the victim should seek immediate medical care without delay. Minor injuries may turn out life-threatening in course of time. Internal injuries or head injuries may show delayed symptoms and should not be overlooked.
Report the accident to the owner or manager of the premises and collect possible evidence. Consult a premises liability lawyer and seek legal advice.
- Who is Liable for an accident in a swimming pool?
The answer rests on what caused the accident.
As per the premises liability law, the owner or manager of the property, pool owners or operators, pool maintenance managers, or equipment manufacturers may be sued for a swimming pool accident.
The defendant may vary depending upon the circumstances of the claim. Premises liability attorneys would analyze the accident in detail and determine who is to be held liable in the claim.
- How Premises liability works in swimming pool accidents?
Like any other premises liability claim, swimming pool injuries demand proving the liability of the defendant. The claimant should prove that the defendant was negligent about the hazard and did not take any steps to remove it. The hazard involved should have caused harm to the claimant.
- How a premises liability lawyer proves liability in the claim?
While pursuing a premises liability claim for a swimming pool accident, it should be established that the hazard triggered the accident and caused harm to the claimant. The medical records about the injuries may coincide with the accident. However, the claim should be substantiated with supporting evidence like photographs of the pool and the hazard involved in the injury.
- What if the claimant has responsibility in the accident?
Every state considers the degree of carelessness of the claimant in a swimming pool accident claim. The less fault you share, the chance of the claim is more.
Some states follow Pure Comparative fault where the liability is calculated to decide the compensation amount.
States like Colorado and Lowa follow Modified Comparative Fault where 50% bar rule or 51% bar rule is used to calculate the percentage of liability of the claimant.
Some states follow Contributory Negligence Rule where even minor negligence from the claimant may prevent him from filing a claim.
- Is there any time limit to file the claim?
Like any other claim, there is a window period within which the claim should be filed for a swimming pool accident.
The statute of limitation for your claim depends upon the state where the accident occurs. For instance, in California, the claimant has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
It is to be noted that, any claim filed after the statute of limitation expires would not be considered by the court for compensation.
- What if the victim of a swimming pool accident is a child?
When the victim of a swimming pool accident is a child, the parents are legally entitled to proceed with a premises liability claim. An expert premises liability attorney would help the parents to file the lawsuit and seek compensation on behalf of the child.
When the pool is a public property and the victim is a child, the claim would be categorized under ‘attractive nuisance’. Premises liability holds the owner of the property liable for the accident even if the child is a trespasser. The law states the children are not able to foresee the dangers of the pool and the owner should keep the pool reasonably safe.
- What are the damages considered in the claim?
Medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages are covered under a swimming pool injury claim. If the accident ends up in the death of the victim, the legal dependents could file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation.
- Can a lifeguard be sued if found liable for a swimming pool accident?
When a lifeguard is found negligent in preventing or addressing a swimming pool accident especially drowning and near-drowning, he could be held liable. However, this depends upon the special circumstances of the case.
- What if a defective diving board triggered the injury?
The claimant may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit when the swimming pool accidents involves a defective product. In such cases, the claimant should establish with evidence that defective product caused the damage.
Having discussed the ins and outs of swimming pool accidents and how premises liability law works, let’s find how to prevent these accidents.
- Proper fencing of the pools
- Use of adequate signboards
- Usage of life jackets
- Proper maintenance of the pools
- Close supervision of children at the pools
- Having lifeguards
- Properly installation of pool drains and pumps
- Keeping diving boards in good working condition
Never delay asking for legal advice if you are victimized in a swimming pool accident. Premises liability lawyers help the claimants navigate the insurance agencies and obtain a deserving payout for your damages
Devastating injuries like brain damage may occur which would cause long-term health issues. Perhaps a life of total dependency may be the result of swimming pool fun. It’s important to understand your rights and the chances of a claim. Seeking compensation would never compensate for your lost health. However, it could help you battle the financial burden and medical expenses.