Houston Swimming Pool Accident Attorneys
Representing Clients Throughout Texas & Across the United States
In the summertime, swimming quickly becomes one of the favorite pastimes of children and adults alike. Whether at the beach, on the lake, or in the neighborhood pool, swimming is a pleasurable activity that can also be very dangerous. It is important for owners of private pools, water parks, hotels, and similar facilities maintain these areas so that swimming is as safe as possible for patrons.
Swimming pool accidents often happen more than people realize, sometimes resulting in severe injuries. People know the risks of drowning—10 people drown every day statistically—but injuries such as brain damage, fractures, or concussions can also result from a pool accident.
Types of Swimming Pool Dangers
Aside from drowning, pools contain several other safety hazards:
All pools must be treated with chemicals to remain sanitary; however, when added in excess or left unsecured, swimmers are at risk of chemical burns or related injuries. Liable parties may include the property owner or the pool maintenance company.
Slips & Fall Injuries
One common swimming pool injury involves slips and falls in the pool area, which quickly becomes slick as swimmers enter and exit the water. In order to prevent injuries, pool decks must be constructed from concrete or other materials designed to prevent slips and falls. Warning signs, lifeguards, and other personnel should also inform guests of safety measures.
Pool Drains Present a Deadly Hazard
One danger posed by pools is the drain itself. One of the largest hazards that they pose is known as entrapment. This is where a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool’s suction, or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair, or a body part becomes caught in a faulty drain. Entrapment is a particular danger with older drain models because those drain covers are flat and have large holes. Newer drain covers are safer because they have many more vents and are raised up off the pool floor instead of sitting flush against the bottom.
Per a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, there were 106 cases of pool drain entrapment from 1999 to 2011. Of those cases, 12 people died, 89 were injured, and 5 escaped without injuries. 79% of the victims in these incidents were children under the age of 18.
In 2008, Congress addressed this danger by passing the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, mandating all public pools in the country to be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers.
However, clearly, that law has not translated to private pools. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the pool owner to keep the pool safe and free from defects like a broken drain lid, which can result in serious injury or death. The manufacturer may also be at fault if the product was faulty.
Recognizing the Risk of Drowning & Submersion
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each day about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children who are 14 years old or younger. Drowning is ranked 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States and can happen in any pool such as residential, portable pools, the neighborhood pool, the pool at the gym, hotels, water parks, and other facilities.
Over 50% of submersion victims treated in emergency rooms require hospitalization or transfer for further care, which is astounding when compared to the hospitalization rate of just 6% for all other unintentional injuries. These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
Preventing drowning accidents could often be as simple as better education on the Instinctive Drowning Response, which doesn’t look like the movie version of a swimmer yelling for help, splashing around, or making audible noise. More often than not, however, it takes modifications to pool design, security measures, safety gear, maintenance standards, or training to stop certain accidents from happening.
Many factors surround the incidence of drowning and submersion. Two that make a huge difference include:
- Fencing – Having a proper and locking fence to keep children out is vital to preventing swimming pool accidents.
- Swimming lessons – Lack of ability to swim properly also accounts for many cases of drowning and submersion. One of the most famous was when Joe Delaney, a running back with the Kansas City Chiefs, drowned to death in 1981. A makeshift pool created from construction drew the attention of some kids, and when Delaney (who couldn't swim well) went in to save them, he drowned himself.
Who Is at Fault for a Pool Accident?
When a pool injury occurs, insurance companies and pool owners often try to blame the victim. In the case of a drowning or other serious injury, that individual is not able to explain what truly happened. That is why Arnold & Itkin is here to investigate your case and identify negligent parties that contributed to your or your loved one’s damages. We can identify who is at fault and hold them accountable for your loss.
The following parties may be at fault for a swimming pool accident:
- Water Park Owners
- Municipal Pool Overseers
- Private Swimming Facilities
- Swimming Management Companies
- Private Property Owners
- Maintenance Company
- Pool Product Manufacturers
Proving Liability in Your Case
Another important factor in a swimming pool accident case is proving liability. While you may believe a pool owner is responsible, can you prove that they can be legally held liable for the damages they caused? Is it possible that the design or construction of the pool itself was at fault? There are several different approaches that can be taken in swimming pool accidents, from product defect liability to premises liability.
In the case of premises liability, the following elements must be proven:
- The property owner (defendant) maintained possession of the premises.
- The plaintiff had the right to or was allowed on the premises.
- The property owner failed to meet their duty of safely maintaining the property.
Some cases may involve a young child who wandered into a neighbor’s yard and was hurt in or around a swimming pool due to a lack of security gates, latches, or fencing. While premises liability may apply, other forms of liability can be proved if one of these elements isn’t a factor.
Need Legal Guidance? Call Our Pool Accident Lawyers at (888) 493-1629 Today
In the wake of a swimming pool accident, only an experienced premises liability attorney will have the resources necessary to discover negligence or defective equipment that may have caused accident or injury. If you or a loved one was injured in a swimming pool accident, you don't have to fight for your rights to compensation alone. If you are unsure if you have a case, we're more than happy to give you answers.
Contact the swimming pool accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation.