Swimming Pool Accidents

By Peter DePaolis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 people die from accidental drowning every day in the United States, and drowning remains the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. Moreover, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 200 children under the age of 15, on average, drown in pools or spas between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. Swimming pool accidents are very serious and happen too often.

If you have been injured in a swimming pool accident or a loved one has suffered injuries or died in a swimming pool, the Northern Virginia premises liability attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. have the knowledge and skills to successfully protect your rights.

What is Premises Liability in Swimming Pool Injury Cases?

Premises liability is a legal principle that states property owners are liable for injuries that occur on their property. This doctrine applies to both public and private swimming pools. Premises liability is based on the following assumptions:

  • The property owner owes a duty of care to guests on the property to take reasonable precaution to prevent injuries.
  • The property owner fails to uphold that duty of care.
  • That failure to uphold his or her duty of care causes personal injury to a guest.

There are many ways that pool owners can be found liable for injuries under premises liability law. Common examples of pool owner negligence include:

  • Lack of supervision or warning signs
  • Owner encouragement of risky behavior
  • Failure to keep the pool in a safe and useable condition
  • Improper design or construction
  • Failure to properly enclose and secure the pool
  • Failure to cover a pool or hot tub
  • Improperly trained lifeguards
  • Insufficient or unclear depth

How Can Swimming Pool Accidents Cause Personal Injury?

Swimming pools pose a number of hazards to both adults and children, such as:

  • Drowning and near-drowning accidents
  • Diving board and waterslide accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Drain accidents
  • Pool heater explosions
  • Electrical equipment malfunctions
  • Excessive chlorine
  • Exposure to bacteria

These hazards can result in serious injuries, including:

  • Brain injuries due to oxygen deprivation
  • Head, neck and back injuries sustained during a diving board or waterslide accident
  • Traumatic brain injuries as well as bone fractures and dislocations caused by a slip and fall
  • Disembowelment during a drain accident
  • Explosion injuries
  • Electrocution
  • Chemical burns
  • Bacterial infections
  • Lacerations or abrasions caused by sharp pool covers or toys

Severe swimming pool accident injuries can require costly medical treatment, such as multiple surgeries or ongoing physical therapy, and some victims suffer permanent physical or mental impairments. Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and also pain and suffering.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Private Pool Owner If I Am Injured on His or Her Property?

CDC statistics show that nearly half of pool-related drownings in the United States happen in private residential pools. In private pool injury cases, the homeowner can face liability if he or she commits some form of negligence. Homeowners are responsible for keeping their pools not only safe and maintained, but also inaccessible to non-invitees.

Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, homeowners are sometimes responsible for injuries to trespassers. If a child drowns in someone’s pool while trespassing on the property, the child’s family can still file a premises liability and wrongful death lawsuit against the pool owner. By failing to adequately enclose the pool, the owner creates an attractive nuisance that may draw in a child who, many times, is unable to read the warning signs posted around the pool.

Furthermore, if a defective product causes a swimming pool accident, the injured party may have a claim against the manufacturer or distributor under product liability law. Common swimming pool defects include drain and pump defects, which can cause swimmers to become entrapped due to suction. Additionally, defects in diving boards, ladders and slides can cause them to fail, which can lead to injuries for people using them. Even a pool’s filter can cause injury. Defects in pool filters may also cause explosions due to the compressed air inside, launching shrapnel that poses a serious injury threat.

What Do I Do If I Suffer Injury in a Northern Virginia Pool Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in any swimming pool accidents, then contact the Northern Virginia premises liability lawyers at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP today for a free case evaluation.

Our law firm operates on contingency fees. This means that if our personal injury lawyers decide to take on your swimming pool injury case, we will cover all upfront costs related to the legal proceedings. Additionally, if we are unsuccessful in winning your case, you will owe us nothing. We have a law office in Northern Virginia and you can reach us by filling out our online contact form in addition to calling one of our three locations.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.