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Swimming Pool Injuries

Whether you own or rent a home with a swimming pool, or go to a private or community pool, it is important to remember that pools pose an ever-present danger for serious injuries and fatalities. The reported findings of numerous studies show the grim connection between pools and personal injuries.

According to the federal government's statistics as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. For younger children between 1 and 4, the risk rises to make accidental drowning the biggest source of injury-related deaths. For every one child who dies from drowning, another four children receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Adult males, children, and minorities are more at a higher risk for pool-related injuries, according to the CDC. There is an annual average of 283 drowning deaths and 2,700 emergency room-treated submersion injuries and swimming pool accidents involving children younger than 5 years 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, and were in the care of either one or both parents at the time of the drowning.

This article explores the legal issues surrounding swimming pool injuries, with information about getting the help of a legal professional. 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 a traumatic brain injury (TBI), disembowelment and evisceration, and other submersion injuries. 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.

The results of swimming pool drain injuries can be catastrophic: if a child's bottom covers the drain portal of a wading pool, the corresponding suction force can disembowel them through a ruptured rectum. Even a slight change in pressure can trigger such swimming injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The U.S. Lifesaving Association has reported that lifeguards prevent thousands of water-related injuries per year.

Not all swimming pools have lifeguards, especially those at hotels and private residences. To ensure pool safety, patrons should heed warning signs and use safety equipment to prevent the risk of drowning, diving injuries, and accidents that children are exposed to due to lack of supervision.

Swimming Pool Dangers

Although there are state and federal laws in place to prevent body entrapment, hair entrapment, entanglement, and evisceration in hot tubs, pools, and spas, serious non-fatal swimming pool injuries, head injuries, drowning accidents, and deaths still occur.

Public wading pools for children, swimming pools specifically designed for young kids (even shallow water pools), spas with flat-drain gates, and pools with single main drain systems pose the greatest of danger of entrapment for kids. Electrical defects, slippery pool decks, ladders and stairs, improper or unsafe pool toys, pool slides, and diving boards all have the potential to injure both swimmers and non-swimmers at pools.

Medical Treatment and Recovery from Swimming Pool Injuries

Treatment for swimming pool injuries can be extensive, and 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, making it particularly important for pool owners to provide disclaimers to their guests to limit their premises liability.

Because the colon, intestines, rectum, and GI tract are often damaged in certain pool injuries, victims of swimming pool disembowelment and evisceration generally have a colostomy that 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, 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 and 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 about the safety of swimming pools and their equipment which must be observed by 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, in addition to special legal damages.

Some of the legal factors that an 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 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 Help for Swimming Pool Injuries Today

If you've suffered an injury in or around a swimming pool and believe another party is at fault, you should explore your legal options. Pool injuries can be quite traumatic or even fatal, and you may be entitled to damages that cover lost wages, hospital costs, rehabilitation, and future medical care. Contact a local personal injury law attorney to learn how they can help you seek compensation from the negligent party.

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.

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Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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