Every year, a number of accidents occur at swimming pools. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over 3,500 people drown each year. Around one-fifth of these deaths are children 14 years or younger.
Further, the CDC asserts that drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The CDC estimates that for every child in the U.S. that drowns, five other children receive E.R. care for injuries suffered in a swimming pool.
What are Common Swimming Pool Accidents?
There are a number of common swimming pool accidents, including:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Diving board injuries
- Broken limbs
Any of these can be due to the direct result of the defects of the pool or the pool owner’s property. This is why it’s important that pool owners maintain and supervise any use of their pool, to ensure that those invited to their property are not injured.
What Can Cause Swimming Pool Accidents?
Various factors contribute to swimming pool accidents. They include:
- Subpar swimming skills, especially in the deep-end of the pool;
- Lack of supervision;
- Alcohol use;
- Seizure disorders; and/or
- Other potential causes.
These are examples of swimming pool accidents that are not necessarily under the control of the pool’s owner. Swimmers can be contributorily negligent by swimming despite knowing that they are not strong swimmers and not taking the necessary precautions.
However, if a child wanders to a pool and falls in due to insufficient supervision and barrier around the pool, then it is likely that the pool owner will be responsible for the drowning.
Who is Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents?
The owner or operator of a swimming pool has a duty to use reasonable care in operating a swimming pool. Failing to exercise reasonable care can lead to injuries, which may be the result of negligence.
In order to prove a pool owner or operator was negligent in operating his or her pool, you must demonstrate the following:
- The pool owner/operator owed you a duty of care;
- The owner/operator committed a breach of duty;
- You suffered an injury as a result of the breach, and;
- The injury was a proximate cause of the breach.
Essentially, if you were invited or paid to use the owner’s pool, then they owed you a duty of care. If you were following the rules of the pool and your injury was due to pool owner’s lack of care, then they breached their duty of care towards you.
If you were injured due to their negligence, like the ladder out of the deep end of the pool was broken and not safe to use but you were unaware and they failed to warn you, then it is very likely that the pool owner is negligent in the eyes of the law.
What Can Pool Owners Do to Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents?
If you own or operate a swimming pool, you should take reasonable steps to prevent or minimize the possibility of injury on the premises, including:
- Never leave the pool unattended;
- Have a lifeguard on duty if you invite people over for a swim party;
- Cover the pool when not in use;
- Fence off the pool;
- Have guests supervise their children at all times;
- Have appropriate signs that indicate the pool rules and the depth of the pool; and
- Carry a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers against lawsuits.
If someone is injured on your property due to the pool and your homeowner’s insurance covers your pool, then it is likely that your homeowner’s insurance will take care of any lawsuit that arises out of the pool.
Should I Speak to an Attorney?
A local personal injury attorney can help to create a strong negligence case against any pool owners/operators. In addition, an attorney can evaluate medical evidence to indicate the extent of injuries and determine appropriate compensation.
The process of proving negligence requires knowledge and expertise that can be accomplished by hiring a good attorney.