On a hot summer day, nothing beats a refreshing dip in your own swimming pool. Because some ¬areas of the country have mild winters and hot summers, many people can and do use their pools almost year round. However, the number of backyard swimming pools gives rise to a significant danger—serious personal injuries and deaths.
Every year, hundreds of children drown in swimming pools, and thousands more are treated for injuries caused by near drowning. Pools can cause other injuries, such as paralysis resulting from a swimmer’s diving into water that is too shallow, as well as injuries caused by slipping on a wet pool deck.
Pool related injuries are not always caused by the inherent dangers that a pool presents. Many injuries are the result of dangerous or defective pool equipment. For example, the pool’s gas heater could blow up, the cover on the pool’s drain could catch the foot of an unsuspecting swimmer, or the pool’s slide could collapse.
Other injuries are attributable to the carelessness of an owner, such as when the owner does not replace loose pool tiles which then cause someone to trip, or the owner leaves the fence gate open, allowing a child to fall in and drown. Many injuries that could be prevented occur because of poor planning, such as when the owner of a pool does not have sufficient rescue equipment or does not take the time to learn basic lifesaving techniques.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pool accident, you may have a legal claim for damages. However, the type of case you have and the kind of damages you can recover depend on both who the responsible party is and how the injury occurred.
For example, if a child drowns because the pool owner left the pool gate open, there may be a premises liability claim. If a child drowns as the result of careless horseplay, there may be a claim for negligence. Claims against those who make or sell a dangerous pool product are generally product liability claims.
Each of these claims requires a different legal strategy to win your case. You will need an experienced lawyer to help you first to determine who is responsible for the injury and then to prove it. Call the Law Offices of Richard M. Katz.
SWIMMING POOL SAFETY
How can you protect people from drowning in your swimming pool? As with any safety issue, the best response is a “layered” approach:
- Most importantly, surround the pool with a childproof fence, which will keep children away from the pool entirely. A properly designed and installed fence cannot be climbed and should have a self latching gate that can be locked, with a handle that is too high for small children to reach.
- A second layer of protection is to have a pool alarm. Pool alarms float in the water and make noise when they detect an object (such as a child) that has fallen into the pool.
- Pool owners should take the time to learn CPR. Even the best safety systems sometimes fail, and knowing CPR can save the lives of both young children and adult guests who fall into a pool.
The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz is striving to improve safety under more strict guidelines and education to ensure the protection and safety of the public. Please help us by calling today if you or a loved one have been the victim of injury.
**Actual resolution of legal issues depends upon many factors, including variations of facts and state laws. This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice on specific subjects, but rather to provide insight into legal developments and issues. The reader should always consult with legal counsel before taking action on matters covered by this newsletter.