Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and relief during the hot summer months. Yet, if they are poorly maintained or supervised, they can also lead to serious or fatal injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The agency also reports that each year, around 3,960 people die from drowning, and 8,080 are injured from a near-drowning. Drowning isn’t the only safety risk associated with swimming pools. Individuals can suffer various other types of harm requiring extensive medical care, missed work, and other expenses and losses.
Swimming pool accident victims can pursue compensation for damages by filing a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. Legal action typically arising from these incidents includes premises liability, product liability, or wrongful death claims.
To seek financial recovery, the injured party must prove that the person or entity they have initiated action against is liable for damages they sustained. Establishing fault is not always easy and can be further complicated by the limitations the victim is experiencing because of their injuries. That is why it is essential to have a personal injury attorney take care of the legal details in these matters.
Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents can occur under several different circumstances. In many cases, they result from the negligence of the pool owner or equipment manufacturer.
Some common causes of accidents include:
- Slips and falls: Swimmers or visitors can slip around the pool if the area is not fitted with non-skid surfaces, there are loose tiles, or the owner fails to provide adequate warnings about the dangers of running or horseplay.
- Poorly secured pool drains: The owner might not have ensured that their pool is equipped with drain covers or other safety systems that can keep swimmers from getting stuck in the drain.
- Sharp edges and surfaces: Swimmers and visitors could suffer severe lacerations if signs, fencing, pool equipment, or other objects in the location are broken or jagged.
- Faulty equipment: Broken or defective ladders or diving boards can lead to an accident. And safety equipment that fails can hinder rescue efforts.
- Lack of fencing: Children can unknowingly get into the pool if the owner does not have a fence around the area or the enclosure is poorly maintained.
- Poor supervision: Lack of pool supervisors or negligent lifeguards endanger swimmers and visitors' safety.
Injuries Sustained in a Pool Accident
Although drownings or near-drownings are common injuries resulting from pool accidents, they are not the only types of harm swimmers and visitors can suffer.
Injuries can also include:
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Brain damage
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Muscle strains
Liability for a Pool Accident
Depending on the cause of the pool accident, several different people or entities can be held responsible. Where fault lies will determine what type of claim the victim files.
Premises Liability Claims
Property owners are expected to keep their premises safe, including their swimming pools. They should address hazardous conditions within a reasonable time and advise visitors of any known dangers. Some swimming pool owners are also required to have warning signs posted, safety equipment nearby, and fencing installed around the pool.
If a private or public swimming pool owner is negligent in fulfilling their duties, a person harmed could file a premises liability claim against them.
Product Liability Claim
When a manufacturer releases a product into the market, the company must ensure that the item is safe for use. However, some manufacturers distribute products with design or construction flaws compromising the integrity of the merchandise.
Swimmers and visitors can be injured because of faulty pool equipment, such as ladders, diving boards, or safety devices. Victims may seek compensation from the manufacturer by filing a product liability claim.
Wrongful Death Claim
Sadly, some pool accidents are fatal. If a person loses a loved one, they can pursue financial recovery from the responsible party. Compensation can cover damages such as burial and funeral expenses, loss of the other person’s income, and loss of companionship and support.
Proving Liability with the Help of a Lawyer
When a pool accident victim seeks compensation from the at-fault party, they must prove that the person or entity is liable. For instance, they must show that a pool owner did not maintain reasonably safe conditions or that the equipment manufacturer distributed a malfunctioning product. The injured party must also demonstrate a connection between their injuries and the accident.
These tasks require a significant amount of research and footwork, which can be challenging to do when suffering from serious or catastrophic injuries. A lawyer can take care of all the legal details, assess the facts of the case, gather evidence, file a claim or lawsuit, and argue for just compensation for their client.
At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we are ready to stand up for those harmed in pool accidents in Kansas City. Please call us at (888) 398-2277 or submit an online contact form today.