Pool Owner Negligence Lawyers
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Swimming pools offer great ways to relax and cool off during a hot summer day; they also provide a cooler alternative way to exercise for many adults while allowing children of all ages to play and enjoy the water. Pools are safe in most circumstances so long as children are always supervised and proper safety guidelines are followed by pool owners. Still, accidents can happen, especially when we least expect them. Without proper supervision or immediate help, pool accidents can result in serious injuries or even death.
If you or a loved one have been hurt while at the pool, you should call the experienced water injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group by calling (800) 863-5312 as soon as possible after your accident. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
swimming pool accidents in the United states
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks fifth among the most common causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States each year. Surprisingly, almost 80 percent of drowning victims are male. About ten people die from unintentional drowning every day, with about two of these fatalities being children under the age of 14.
One-third of children between the ages of 1 to 4 who died of an unintentional injury, died from drowning, and drowning is responsible for more deaths among children in this age range than any other cause except for birth defects. Drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths behind car accidents for children between the ages of 1 to 14. Most drownings of small children occur in home swimming pools, emphasizing the critical need for constant supervision and adequate safety precautions such as fencing around the pool or placing a cover on the pool when it is not in use.
For each one of these children who drowned, another five children under the age of 14 were treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal submersion injuries. Finally, between 2005 and 2014, there was an average of over 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings, unrelated to boating, that occurred each year.
examples of common pool-related accidents
Aside from fatal drownings, a number of other types of accidents can occur in or around swimming pools, often as the result of the negligence of the pool’s owner or the manufacturer or installer of the pool. Some of the most common swimming pool accidents in the United States include:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls are one of the most common swimming pool accidents, as the deck around a pool and other surrounding areas are often very slick with people getting in and out of the water, splashing around, and otherwise creating dangerous slipping hazards for anyone walking near the pool. Even if someone is walking carefully through these slick areas, they could still lose their balance and fall. Slip and fall accidents near swimming pools often result in serious injuries, such as:
- Back and spinal cord injuries resulting in temporary or permanent disabilities such as paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) caused by blunt force trauma to the head, often resulting in lost consciousness, various cognitive disabilities, impaired motor functions, coma, or other long-term effects
- Broken or fractured bones
- Soft tissue damage such as to sprained wrists, knees, or ankles, as well as torn ligaments or tendons
Non-fatal Drowning Accidents
Not all drownings result in death. Indeed, various medical and scientific experts worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 to create a universal definition of drowning which includes non-fatal cases: “Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death, morbidity, and no morbidity.”
This expanded definition allowed for an inclusion of drowning outcomes that may not result in death, but still result in serious or even catastrophic injuries caused by submersion in liquid, such as lung damage. Nonfatal drowning victims may also suffer severe brain damage, often caused by an acquired brain injury called hypoxia, more commonly known as oxygen deprivation. Prolonged submersion in water resulting in hypoxia can leave victims seriously impaired and suffering from severe long-term effects, including:
- Difficulty controlling one’s emotions or behavior
- Temporary or permanent impairments to one’s gross and fine motor skills
- Various cognitive disabilities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Short-term or long-term memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Temporary or long-term coma
- Permanent loss of brain function (known as being in a vegetative state)
- Brain death
Pool Drain Injury Accidents
Certain pool drains may exert up to 350 pounds of pressure, with public pools having even more powerful drains. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), this pressure is caused by water rushing from the pool through the drain, which results in a powerful suction that can be very dangerous for any swimmers in the pool, especially small children. Pool drain accidents can cause severe and debilitating injuries or death for small children and even adults in some cases. As these drains typically come standard in most hot tubs, swimming pools, or wading pools, the owners of the pool should understand these dangers and take special care to avoid the risk of pool drain injuries occurring.
In most cases, pool drains should remain covered at all times when people are in the pool. If a drain cover breaks or has been removed by someone, someone in the pool may become stuck to the drain as a result of “suction entrapment,” similar to the way a vacuum sticks to the palm of your hand. This “suction entrapment” can prevent the victim from escaping the drain before drowning in many cases, while many victims who are able to escape will still often suffer serious injuries.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are five types of drain entrapment:
- Hair entanglement or entrapment, where a victim’s hair is pulled in and wraps around the grate of the drain cover
- Limb entrapment, where the victim’s leg, arm, hands, or feet may be pulled into the open drain pipe
- Body entrapment, where the victim’s torso is trapped and held against the drain because of the force of the circulation pump’s suction
- Mechanical entrapment, where part of the swimmer’s clothing or jewelry may get stuck in the grate or the drain
- Evisceration, where the victim’s buttocks may come into contact with the pool suction outlet, causing the victim to be disemboweled and suffer permanent impairment
Pool owner liability
Most swimming pool injury cases will fall under premises liability law, which means your injury lawyer will generally first investigate to determine whether the pool owner may be liable for your injuries and damage. If the accident occurred while you were on the pool owner’s property and your injury was caused by negligence on the part of the pool owner, they can be held liable. However, your ability to pursue compensation from them or their insurance will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
Applicable Laws for Pool Owners
Most states require pool owners to follow specific regulations intended to keep people safe while swimming as well as to make sure that the pool and surrounding area is secure when the pool is not being used. If your state has such requirements, the regulations will vary in their specificity, but they will likely include provisions such as these:
- Requiring a barrier around the pool
- Requiring pools to have alarms that sound if a child enters the pool, as well as alarms for any doors that open directly to the pool
- Requiring pool owners to regularly verify that the pool drain is covered and not broken
Failing to follow any applicable regulations or laws required in the state in which the pool is located may result in a pool owner being held liable for any injuries or deaths caused by this failure. An experienced pool injury attorney from Zinda Law Group will begin their investigation by looking into whether any such laws or regulation exist in your state and whether the pool owner may have failed to comply with the applicable rule that may have prevented your pool accident and resulting injuries.
Negligent Behavior by Pool Owners
To determine whether the pool owner caused your injury, your lawyer will also investigate the accident to gather any evidence that the pool owner may have put public health in danger, including through common examples of negligence such as:
- Failing to repair or replace broken diving boards or ladders
- Removing a pool drain cover, failing to cover a pool drain, or failing to replace a broken pool drain cover
- Failing to supervise children in or around a pool
- Failing to clean and remove any algae build up around the pool that could create a slippery walkway
- Improperly maintaining concrete or tiles around the pool that may cause a tripping hazard
- Failing to fix chemical imbalances of the pool water that could cause injuries to skin or eyes as well as breathing issues
- Failing to provide appropriate safety equipment
CONTACT a water injury attorney TODAY
Swimming pools can be a fun and relaxing activity for all ages, especially in summer heat. However, when pool owners do not take proper care and their negligence causes injury to you or a loved one, an experienced water injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options.
If you or a loved one were hurt while at the pool, you should contact the skilled team at Zinda Law Group as soon as possible to begin the process of understanding your rights and whether you may be entitled to any compensation for your injuries.
Our team of attorneys will use their years of experience to help you determine who might be liable for your injuries as well as how much compensation you may be entitled to. Importantly, your pool injury lawyer can handle your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Your attorney will negotiate with the pool owner and any insurance companies on your behalf to seek a reasonable settlement offer or take your case to trial if the insurer refuses to agree to an acceptable settlement.