While truly faultless accidents can happen, many swimming pool accidents can be attributed to some form of liability. Determining exactly where that liability falls is the first step in an effective swimming pool accident claim – then comes the challenge of proving it.
Our attorneys have years of experience in investigating swimming pool accidents, gathering evidence and witnesses, and preparing a solid claim. Let us put that experience to work for you.
Swimming pools are almost a necessity in hot climates like Arizona. Many homes with even small backyards have them, either in-ground or above. Schools, motels, and hotels usually offer them as a popular amenity. Many fitness centers include them, as do pool and tennis clubs, generally found within certain neighborhoods. Sometimes, a municipality may have one that is open to the general public. In any event, nearly anyone can have access to a pool on any day of the week.
Accidents Around Swimming Pools.
In order to reduce swimming pool accidents, there are numerous state and local regulations relating to safety equipment, pool covers, fencing, security measures, and, in some cases, mandatory lifeguards.
If an accident or tragedy does occur where a swimming pool is involved, it is generally a premises liability or wrongful death matter. In these cases, it is the negligence of the pool owner or operator who failed to maintain properly the pool or surrounding area, to remove a hazardous condition, have safety equipment available, to keep the pool area secure or to have trained lifeguards on duty.
Swimming pool accidents occur for a number of reasons:
- Slippery surfaces
- Faulty pool design
- Poor supervision of swimmers
- Violation for too many swimmers in pool
- Poor maintenance clouding pool and obscuring visibility or depth
- Failure to warn regarding diving into shallow pool
- Lack of required signage
- Drain suction that pulls swimmer down or catches a foot
- Sharp-edged or poorly maintained water slide
- Lack of fencing or failure to secure gate
- No lifeguard at public pool or poorly trained ones
- Lack of proper and functioning lifesaving equipment
- No first aid kit or spinal support board at public or hotel pools
- Water-borne infections from contaminated pools
Liability in Swimming Pool Accidents
The principles of premises liability operate for these types of claims. Hotels, resorts, fitness centers and municipal pool owners have a high duty to the public to inspect for and correct any hazards in the pool and pool area. Cloudy pools or those with high bacteria counts need to be kept closed. If no lifeguard is on duty, proper warning needs to be given, and proper lifesaving equipment must be easily accessible.
In an electrical storm, all swimmers need to be told to exit immediately from the water. Warnings about diving must be prominently displayed. A common accident is when a swimmer dives headfirst into a shallow pool and suffers a debilitating spinal cord injury. Pool suctions and drains also need to inspected to ensure they do not present an unreasonable risk of danger.
Homeowners have a duty to warn of or remove dangers that are obvious. This would include surrounding their pools with fences of sufficient height and locking the pool when not in use to avoid children from drowning, an all too familiar occurrence in Arizona.
Municipal pools also must adhere to all regulations regarding safety including signage, safety equipment, and lifeguards. Different rules apply to public entities regarding notice of claims and filings.
Damages in Swimming Pool Accidents
Injuries in swimming pool accidents range from minor to serious, including broken bones and head injuries from slip and falls, cuts and lacerations from slides, and brain injuries from near drownings. There are 150,000 pool-related injuries in the U.S. each year and 3,500 fatalities related to pool accidents, most of which are drownings.
Damages in such accidents depend on the age of the victim, work history, extent of injury and other factors, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Rehabilitation costs
- Assistive medical device expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Spousal loss of consortium
For wrongful death claims, the immediate family or the decedent’s family may bring a claim for damages. Damages vary depending on the plaintiff and the extent of loss from the decedent’s death, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Value of household services provided by the decedent
- Loss of the decedent’s counsel, support, love, companionship and guidance (not available in claims brought by the estate)
- Emotional pain suffered by immediate family members (not available in claims brought by the estate)
Swimming pool accidents often involve numerous issues regarding liability and damages. Having an experienced and seasoned legal advocate is essential to getting the compensation you need and deserve for the injuries or loss you have sustained.
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