When it gets hot and humid in Georgia and Alabama, many families enjoy visiting a pool, whether it be a public pool, water park, or pool in their own backyards. Unfortunately, when not properly equipped, these visits can end with injuries.
It is important to remember that pools can be dangerous, even for those who know how to swim. They are ESPECIALLY dangerous for small children, who should NEVER swim in or play near a pool unsupervised by a parent or guardian, even if they are wearing pool floaties or a lifeguard is present. Home pools can be particularly dangerous to people who might dive or jump in a pool without knowing what is below.
According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study between 2017 and 2019, an average of 6,700 children under the age of 15 suffer non-fatal drowning injuries every year in the United States. 75% of these drownings happened to children under the age of 5.
Here is what you need to know about swimming pool dangers, particularly for children, this summer.
What Are the Most Common Injuries at Swimming Pools?
While drowning is the most serious danger at a pool, it is not the only danger. Severe and even fatal injury can come from any of the below:
- Drowning and near-drowning, especially by entrapment (hair or limbs getting caught in the suction of a pool drain) or small children getting trapped under large pool floats
- Head and spinal injuries, especially from falling or diving into shallow water
- Broken bones, especially from slips and falls on wet floor or pavement near the pool
- Pool chemical injuries, especially poisoning from breathing in toxic fumes from chlorine containers
- Illnesses spread by swimming pool contamination, especially urine or feces
- Electrocution, especially from pool equipment (such as pool lights or heaters) with faulty wiring
What to Do After a Pool Injury
After a swimming pool injury caused by someone else’s negligence, your family has a right to compensation for medical bills, physical and emotional suffering, and potentially even any wages you missed if you were required to take time from work to take care of your child while they were recovering.
To protect your child’s health and your rights to compensation for their injury, make sure to follow these steps after a drowning, near-drowning, or other injury at a pool.
- Call 911. If the injury is severe, this gets EMTs to the scene and brings the police to file a report. If the accident happened on a friend’s property, it may be uncomfortable to call the police, but it’s necessary to preserve the details of the accident that you will need later to present to the insurance company to get compensation.
- Gather evidence. Get the names of witnesses and take pictures of anything that may have contributed to the injury, such as trip hazards or broken pool equipment.
- See a doctor. If your child was not treated at the scene, take them to see a doctor as soon as possible. This gets them needed treatment, connects their injuries to this particular accident, and diagnoses any future problems connected to their accident (for example, there is such a thing as “delayed drowning,” when symptoms only appear hours after a child inhales water).
- Call a swimming pool injury lawyer. An experienced premises liability attorney can help you determine who is liable for your child’s injuries by determining who owed your child a duty of care, and help calculate how much your family is owed for medical expenses and emotional trauma while also negotiating with the at-fault party on your behalf.
- Do not share details about your accident. This includes not sharing details on social media, and especially not talking to any representative of the insurance company without your lawyer present.
Who Is Liable for Swimming Pool Injuries?
Depending on the type of injury, there are generally three main parties who could be liable for the harm to your child.
- The Manufacturer: If a pool was poorly designed enough to be dangerous (such as a too shallow “deep” end or drain openings large enough to trap limbs) or if it was manufactured incorrectly (especially for above-ground pools), then that pool designer or manufacturer could be held responsible for resulting injuries. The same is true for dangerous or defective pool equipment like ladders, diving boards, and slides.
- Installer: Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the pool or any of the equipment, but the contractor who installed it did so incorrectly. Examples include faulty electrical wiring or loose or uneven ladders and diving boards.
- Owner: Whether the pool is on private property, open to the public, or in a gym or hotel, the owner usually has the most responsibility for a pool injury. They may not have put up adequate signage warning pool users about slippery floors or where the pool was too shallow to dive. They may be poorly maintaining the pool equipment or chlorine levels in the pool. There may be a lack of appropriate supervision (no or poorly trained lifeguards). It is also important to note that for pools on private property, pool owners also have a legal responsibility to keep out children who might be enticed by a pool and trespass by enclosing the pool in a fence that can’t be easily climbed and with a gate that self-latches and can be locked.
Related Reading: What is the “Attractive Nuisance” Law?
After a Pool Injury in Georgia or Alabama, Call Our Premises Liability Attorneys
A near-drowning at a pool is enough to traumatize any child, as well as their parent. And not only can it lead to emotional damage, it often leads to serious medical issues as well. If your child was injured at a pool, whether by drowning, falling, or something else, your family deserves not just a way to get past it, but compensation for what you experienced due to someone else’s negligence.
Contact our attorneys today to learn what your options are to get the compensation you are entitled to.