SCHOOL POOL DROWNING ACCIDENT LAWYERS
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Almost everyone enjoys spending time poolside as temperatures start rising. Pools offer a place for us to cool down, and swimming can be a fun activity for everyone in the family. Splashing, diving, and playing water games are great ways for families to spend time together.
In addition to homes or public swimming pools, some communities have schools with pools for sports or physical education. While your child is at school, you should feel comfortable knowing that they are being supervised. When this does not happen and a child suffers a school pool injury or drowns in a school pool, the school or teachers may be directly liable to you.
If one of your children has drowned at a school pool and you need a personal injury lawyer, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation and to find a personal injury attorney near you.
swimming pool accidents
Anyone who owns or operates a pool, whether public or private, has an important responsibility to those using the pool to make sure there is no danger posed to visitors. Specifically, all pools should be adequately fenced or guarded against children who may fall in, additionally, pools should be closely watched by trained lifeguards or qualified staff. Schools that have a pool for children to use or that utilize a community pool nearby for their students have a duty to keep those children safe from swimming pool accidents.
Swimming pool accidents and drownings can happen quickly. Without proper supervision and basic safety steps in place, a child can suffer tragic and devastating consequences.
The Consequences of Swimming Pool Injuries
Drowning in a pool is the most devastating disaster that can occur in a school pool. Submersion injuries or injuries caused by being underwater for too long, such as with near-drownings, can cause permanent injuries. Children who survive these injuries can suffer life-long brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen; furthermore, a child may develop a lasting fear of water or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffer cognitive changes, seizures, coma, or brain damage.
Other injuries can also occur around swimming pools, such as slipping, cuts, bruises, skull fractures, or spinal cord injuries. Children who are not supervised may run or play near a pool, and if one of these injuries causes them to fall into the water, it can become life-threatening.
The Causes of Drowning Accidents
Child drowning accidents are completely preventable. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and property owners have a duty to keep pools safe for children. If any of the below factors contributed to your child’s accident, you may have a strong claim for legal recourse against the responsible party:
- Lack of fencing with a locked gate
- Lack of life jackets
- Lack of proper lighting
- Lack of supervision or on-duty lifeguard
- Lack of warning signs
- Lack of water-depth markings
Underlying medical conditions can sometimes make a child more at risk for water-related injuries. Teachers or other school caretakers may have a special duty to children with these conditions if these conditions are known.
One of the most common causes of death in children from drowning is epilepsy; children with epilepsy are at a greater risk of drowning, about 7.5 to 10-fold greater than children who do not suffer from epileptic seizures. Children with autism spectrum disorder are also at an increased risk of drowning, especially in those younger than 15 years of age. Wandering is the most commonly reported behavior that leads to drowning, accounting for almost 74 percent of fatal drownings among autistic children.
Swimming Pool Accident Statistics
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children. In 2017, almost 1,000 children younger than 20 years of age died due to drowning. The AAP recommends that children should never be left unattended around bodies of water, even for a moment.
legal liability for school pool accident injuries
If your child was at school or at a school-related function while they drowned or suffered injuries, the school and any teacher supervising may be held liable to you for the harm to your child. Laws related to swimming pools vary by state, but most states will have some variation of the following regulations:
- Children should be supervised by a lifeguard or adult at all times.
- Life-saving equipment should be available and maintained at all times.
- Pool rules for behavior should be clearly posted and enforced, such as no running or diving.
- Water depths should be clearly marked.
There may be several options for pursuing a legal claim for personal injury if your child is injured while at a school pool. These claims include premises liability, negligence, attractive nuisance, and vicarious liability.
Premises liability law varies from state to state, but generally depends on the nature of the individual who has suffered the injury and how they were on the property. If a child has been invited or allowed onto the owner’s land, then there is a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe and to warn of any known dangers. If a child was on school property when they were at a pool or at a community pool that the school was using for an activity, then premises liability is likely to apply if they suffer injuries.
Negligence is the basis for the majority of personal injury claims. Negligence is the legal theory that others have a duty to act reasonably in certain situations to prevent harm to others. A judge or jury will look at the surrounding facts and decide whether a person was acting negligently or reasonably. If the injury to your child was caused by someone else who had a duty of care to prevent harm to your child, then you likely have a strong negligence claim.
Attractive nuisance applies when a child is not specifically invited to or allowed onto a property, but their entrance onto the property is enticed by an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance can be anything that causes a child to be lured onto the property. Swimming pools are a common attractive nuisance for children.
Pool owners who know that children are nearby, such as in a school setting, and anticipate that children might trespass onto the property, have a duty to keep these children safe from the attractive nuisance. Children have the inability to appreciate the dangers of some situations and adults have a responsibility to keep them safe whenever possible. Some safety precautions could include fencing that surrounds the pool with a locked gate or only allowing the pool to be used if the children are accompanied by an adult at all times.
Vicarious liability can be imposed when parties have a relationship such as an employee-employer relationship. One example of this can be a teacher who is employed by a school district who is tasked with the responsibility of supervising your child while at school or at a school event. If your child was injured while they were under the care and supervision of a teacher, not only will you be able to sue that teacher, but you may also be able to sue the school district.
swimming pool safety reminders
Swimming pool accidents, especially among children, are completely preventable when appropriate adult supervision is used. Swimming lessons and swimming skills are important to increase water competency to avoid drowning situations; however, even with appropriate swimming skills, drowning may still be a risk for young children. Wearing a life jacket or using any kind of flotation device while in the water can help increase water safety.
Adults should be able to recognize signs of distress from a swimmer and be able to respond quickly. Adults should familiarize themselves with child CPR and safe rescue techniques in case of a drowning. An article by USA Today states that a person has only seconds before dying once they are actively drowning.
Some of the signs of active drowning may be extremely hard to spot unless you are paying careful attention. One of the signs could be silence: a child who is hyperventilating and trying to breathe will not be screaming for help and may be using their arms to try to swim or stay afloat, rather than waving for help. Look for signs of distress on a child’s face such as panic, fear, or concern.
While drowning can be prevented, accidents do happen. If your child was injured at a school pool while under the supervision of their school, contact one of our lawyers today to assess your claim.
Get Help from personal injury lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our pool injury attorneys are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims of swimming pool accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.