Summer is here, and that means people all across the country will soon flock to public and private swimming pools. Despite the fun, however, swimming pools remain a major source of injury for Americans. Hundreds of people drown every year, including children, and other accidents are also far too common.
Property owners with swimming pools owe a duty to keep them safe. When they don’t, and someone gets hurt or killed, the property owner can be held liable. Below are some common sense ways to keep swimming pools a fun place for everyone. If you live in Northern Virginia and are injured at a pool this summer, reach out to the personal injury lawyers of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP.
What Causes Swimming Pool Accidents?
Swimming pools are considered “attractive nuisances.” This term refers to a property feature that attracts children and therefore puts them at risk. But swimming pools can pose a risk to the population in general. Because of the heightened dangers they present, property owners are expected to take reasonable steps to keep their pools safe. This includes keeping the pool safe for children, even those who may trespass.
These are some of the steps that a swimming pool owner, public or private, may be expected to take:
Install fencing around the pool or the backyard. Proper fencing is a basic requirement for any pool. An unfenced pool can easily attract a child. Even if the child isn’t permitted access to the pool, the owner can be held liable for an injury.
Locking gates and doors. Surrounding the pool with proper fencing is important, but locking gates and doors may be needed to keep older children out. The door or gate should only be accessible by adults or the pool’s owner.
Motion sensor alarms. An alarm may be necessary where the pool is enclosed within a house or other structure. These alarms can detect movement near a pool or can detect water movement if someone enters it.
Covering the pool. A protective cover, usually made of fiberglass, can prevent anyone from getting inside. This can be especially useful when the owners are out of town or during the off season when it’s harder to supervise the pool.
Supervise and warn swimmers. When the pool is being used, its owners are responsible for adequately supervising swimmers. Public pools, for example, need to have lifeguards on duty. Other pools will require proper signage to warn users.
Common Injuries in Swimming Pool Accidents
The exact safety and security measures that need to be adopted will vary from one facility to another. For example, a large public pool will need most or all of the above tools to keep swimmers safe. Meanwhile, a pool in a suburban backyard probably won’t need as many safeguards. Either way, failure to take reasonable steps to keep swimmers safe can lead to major injuries, such as:
- Spine and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Permanent brain injury due to lack of oxygen in a near-drowning
- Internal injuries
Swimming pool accidents don’t have to happen this summer. With proper security and safety measures, everyone can have fun. However, if you or a loved one have been hurt at a pool, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Let the experienced Northern Virginia personal injury lawyers of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP evaluate your case today.