Swimming pools are a lot of fun, of course. We have in Maryland, in those 3 warm months, innumerable swim clubs, public and private pools that offer visitors fun, exercise and relaxation during the summer months. There has also been a proliferation of indoor pools in recent years.
Fun as they are, swimming pools are unbelievably dangerous. One stat really stands out: it is safer to keep a gun in the house than it is to have a pool in your backyard. Drowning kills more American children 1 to 4 years old than any cause except for birth defects
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are approximately 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) every year. That is about 10 per day. Fatal drowning is the second highest cause of unintentional death for children under age 15. Regardless for the reason the child drown, every single child drowning death is an unimaginably tragic case.
Often due to negligence of the owners, operators and manufacturers of the pools, children and adults can suffer devastating life-changing or fatal injuries. These cases often lead to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. You can see some real examples of these cases here.What Are the Pool Dangers That Can Cause Injury or Death?
The following are some of the risks that pools may have if poorly constructed, maintained or supervised:
- Lack of proper safety equipment: Pools should have well stocked first-aid kits and automatic external defibrillators (AED) available at all times. AEDs are often necessary to shock drowning victims back into normal sinus rhythm, and can save precious moments while waiting for paramedics.
- Failure to Supervise: Lifeguards must take steps to ensure that those lifeguards are properly trained and performing their duties of monitoring the pool and guests for safety issues and potential drowning. Owners of private facilities who receive guests often have a duty to supervise guests and swimmers and to protect them from injury and drowning.
- Failure to Warn: If there is no lifeguard, that must be clear to swimmers. Additionally, signs must adequately warn guests about the depth of water at various places to warn would-be divers or people with limited swimming capability.
- Lack of Fencing: Swimming pools (and other bodies of water, including Jacuzzis and hot tubs) can qualify as an “attractive nuisance” for children, particularly those pools with water slides or pools with toys floating in them. If those pools are accessible by children and not properly locked or restricted, the landowner may be responsible for unwittingly luring children to their property where drownings and other injuries may occur. Pools without fencing are 60% more likely to involve a drowning, as compared to those that are fenced-in.
- Failure to Maintain: Owners of swimming pools may be liable if they fail to properly and safely maintain their facility. For example, diving boards must be safe to stand and jump from. The water must be clean so people can easily get out of the water and so lifeguards can see people having problems staying afloat. Pool-cleaning chemicals, if not properly used and measured, can cause significant health problems for swimmers. Areas around the sater must be safe to walk on, especially where water may make it slippery.
- Defective Equipment: Many aspects of pools may be dangerous and cause injuries. Pool drains, when not properly covered, are oftentimes so powerful that they trap swimmers underwater, causing drowning. Ladders or slides may be improperly attached or defective, causing other injuries.
When a drowning or injury occurs, the following causes of action may be possible. A cause of action is theory of liability, or a reason the owner, operator or manufacturer is responsible.
- Premises Liability: Owners are responsible for hazards on their land. The extent to which they are responsible depends on the “classification” of the injured person—for example, different duties are owed to invitees, licensees and trespassers (many states have different classifications). A pool can qualify as a hazard when it is has dangers that the owner knew or should have known about. Therefore, owners must take reasonable steps to make sure their pools are safe.
- Product Liability: Sometimes pools or pool equipment may be defective. Some type of defects including design defects (the pool was incorrectly designed), manufacturing defects (the pool’s design was correct but it was improperly constructed); and failure to warn (for example, lack of signs about the pool’s depth, causing someone to jump into a shallow area).
- Negligence: Owners and operators of pools have a duty to act reasonably in their ownership and maintenance of the pool and its surroundings. If they are negligent by failing to have lifeguards on duty, failing to properly train lifeguards, or failing to keep the pool safe, they may be responsible for pool-related injuries or drownings.
Every state has a deadline to file a lawsuit known as a statute of limitations. Be aware that pool injuries and drownings may take time to investigate in order to determine the responsible parties and the theories of liability. For example, if a product defect is involved, your lawyer must identify the manufacturer of the equipment, the seller of the equipment, and anyone who installed or assembled the device. If the claim is one of negligence or premises liability, the owner of the pool must be identified, as well as anyone else who was responsible for the area at the time (including pool companies or vendors).
In addition, most states have shortened the deadline to file suit or require early notice where a governmental entity may be responsible. If the pool was run by a city, county or state, there may be a very short time to preserve your right to file a lawsuit.Swimming Pool Safety
- Never leave children or inexperienced swimmers unobserved around pools.
- Never swim after consuming alcohol.
- Learn CPR and post CPR instructions near the pool.
- Fence and lock-in your pool so neighboring children do not use it while you are away
- Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use.
- Use non-slip materials around your pool.
Swimming pool injuries may involve injuries from falls, near drownings causing serious brain injury, and death. If you live in the United States and believe you may have a claim for a swimming pool injury, call our lawyers at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or click here for a free Internet consultation on your potential swimming pool injury lawsuit.