Water Injury Lawyers: Virginia Graeme Baker Act

Handling Cases Nationwide

The Virginia Graeme Baker Act is a 2007 piece of federal legislation designed to enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas, to reduce the frequency of incidents in which children are injured or killed after being trapped by drains, and to educate parents about the need to supervise their children around water. The law also seeks to reduce the number of injuries caused by pools and spas such as the entrapment of hair and other body parts. The law was named after the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III who drowned in June 2002 when she became trapped underwater by the suction from a spa drain.

The Act now requires pools and spas constructed after 2008 to meet certain federal regulations pertaining to the design and construction of their drain covers. Pools and spas that had already been constructed must now have drain covers that comply with the Act.

The Success of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act

Although the Act was borne out of a terrible tragedy with the best of intentions, the Act has not been successful in eliminating the dangers of pool and spa drains. Every year, there continue to be children who drown or who are injured in near-drowning incidents because they are held underwater by the force of a drain’s suction or who become caught inside a pool or spa drain. This is in spite of the Act’s mandates and requirements.

The success of the Act has been in establishing a clear, bright-line rule as to what is and what is not an acceptable pool or spa drain cover. This makes it somewhat easier to determine if a pool or spa owner or operator had complied with the Act and thus whether he or she was acting carelessly in allowing people into a pool or spa that was not compliant with the Act.

What if a Pool or Spa Owner Did Not Comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Act?

It is a mistake to assume that a pool or spa owner or operator whose pool or spa did not comply with the Act is automatically responsible for any injuries that occur in his or her pool or spa. Instead, violating the Act can be seen merely as evidence that the owner or operator was not acting the way a reasonable owner or operator would have under the circumstances. An injured swimmer or his or her surviving family members must still show:

  • The owner or operator owed the swimmer a duty of care;
  • Failing to follow the Virginia Graeme Baker Act was a breach of that duty of care;
  • The failure to follow the Act caused the swimmer’s injuries; and
  • The swimmer’s injuries can be compensated through a monetary award.

How Zinda Law Group Can Help

Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have helped numerous pool accident and spa accident victims recover compensation after being injured in a drowning or near-drowning incident. They are familiar with the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act and can analyze your case to determine if the Act was indeed violated. Photographic evidence and testimony may be necessary to prove that the pool or spa owner or operator did in fact fail to adhere to the Act.

Contact Zinda Law Group Now

Whether your case is ultimately settled out of court or litigated before a judge or jury, our team of seasoned personal injury lawyers are here to help you potentially obtain compensation and to protect your legal rights. Contact us and learn how we can help you by calling (800) 863-5312.