Swimming Pool Injuries
Whether you're a swimming pool owner or rent a home with a private pool, be alert. If you go to a residential or public pool, remember that pools pose an ever-present danger. Serious injuries, fall accidents, and fatalities can happen at private and public swimming pools.
Numerous studies show the grim connection between pools and personal injuries. The federal government's statistics are reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They show that fatal drowning remains a leading cause of death for minors:
- Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death in children 5 to 14 years.
- For younger children between 1 and 4, it is the biggest source of injury-related deaths.
- For every child who dies from drowning, another seven receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
- Males, children, and minorities are at higher risk for pool-related injuries.
According to the United States Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there is:
- An annual average of 371 pool drowning deaths
- 6,300 emergency room-treated submersion injuries and swimming pool accidents involving young children in pools and spas
Most children who drown in swimming pools:
- Were last seen at home
- Had not been seen for five minutes or less
- Were in the care of family members at the time of the drowning
This article explores the legal issues surrounding swimming pool injuries. Swimming pool accident cases involve personal injury claims under premises liability laws. These laws concern harms that occur as a result of dangerous conditions in a property owner's pool area. See drowning liability and Homeowner Liability: Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers for more information.
The Non-Fatal Swimming Pool Injury
Some of the most serious non-fatal swimming pool injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Disembowelment and evisceration
- Other submersion injuries that rack up medical bills
TBI can occur when a swimmer dives into a pool and hits their head. Often, the person who hit their head may not even appear to be injured, but in a day or two internal bleeding may bring on a coma or even wrongful death.
The results of swimming pool drain injuries can be catastrophic. If a person's bottom covers the drain portal of a wading pool, a horrifying personal injury case may ensue. The corresponding suction force can disembowel them through a ruptured rectum. Even a slight change in pressure can trigger such swimming injuries.
The U.S. Lifesaving Association has reported that lifeguards prevent thousands of water-related injuries per year, but not all swimming areas have lifeguards, especially hotel and residential pools. To ensure pool safety, patrons should heed warning signs. They should also use safety equipment like pool covers and self-latching gates. Electronics and power cords should be kept far away from the pool area to prevent electrocution. These measures can help to prevent the risk of drowning, diving injuries, and other accidents.
Swimming Pool Dangers
Many personal injury lawsuits involve children who are injured due to lack of supervision. In the swimming pool context, these claims may concern the attractive nuisance doctrine. This legal principle imposes a duty of care on property owners to ensure the safety of children at play. A pool may be an “attractive nuisance" in that it might entice children to trespass upon it. A gated or covered pool could go a long way in protecting unsupervised kids.
Children can be hurt even when they are rightfully present and supervised. They may encounter harm at:
- Public wading pools (shallow artificial pools)
- Spas with flat-drain gates
- Pools with a single main drain system
These kinds of pools pose the greatest threat of danger of entrapment for kids. Parents and property owners should exercise reasonable care to ensure children's safety in these areas.
Other dangers to look out for include:
- Electrical defects
- Slippery pool decks
- Ladders and stairs
- Improper or unsafe pool toys
- Pool slides and diving boards
These dangers have the potential to injure both swimmers and non-swimmers alike. In addition to making the pool premises safe, pool owners should warn guests and provide disclaimers to swimmers about safe practices and careful use of the pool premises.
Medical Treatment and Recovery From Swimming Pool Injuries
Treatment for swimming pool injuries can be extensive. It often involves life-changing therapies and rehabilitation. Near-drowning accidents or non-fatal drownings can be common causes of brain damage and other forms of disability. These injuries can involve significant medical expenses for long-term treatment.
Because the colon, intestines, rectum, and GI tract are often damaged in certain pool injuries, extended treatment is needed. Victims of swimming pool disembowelment and evisceration may need a colostomy. This allows the removal of human waste from their body via a bag attached to the abdomen. Disembowelment victims may also have to be fed intravenously. They may be more susceptible to infection and have their movement severely restricted.
In addition to physical damages, the mental and emotional damage suffered by victims of life-changing swimming pool injuries can be severe. Similarly, TBI victims will require a lifetime of chronic care, together with extensive rehabilitation. They may need the use of expensive assistive technologies, including augmentative and alternative communication devices.
Swimming Pool Injuries and Your Legal Rights
There are state and federal laws regarding the safety of swimming pools and related equipment. They apply to manufacturers, sellers, and installers of pools and spas. If you or a loved one experienced swimming pool-related injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future expenses for different kinds of damages.
Some of the legal factors that a personal injury attorney can review with you include:
- Whether you and your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical treatment, rehabilitation, and related expenses
- If you and your loved ones can recover lost wages from work, and other out-of-pocket expenses stemming from swimming pool injuries
- Whether a swimming pool injury may entitle you and your loved ones to recover damages for pain and suffering
Seek Legal Advice for Swimming Pool Injuries Today
If you've suffered an injury in or around a swimming pool and believe another party is at fault, a swimming pool accident lawyer can help. Pool injuries can be quite traumatic or even fatal, and you may be entitled to damages. Damages can cover lost wages, hospital costs, rehabilitation, and future medical care.
Contact a local personal injury lawyer to learn how they can help you seek compensation from a liable party. A swimming pool accident attorney can help you file your case before the legal time limit (statute of limitations) runs out.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.