Swimming pool accidents occur with surprising frequency in our country. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 3,500 people die in drowning accidents each year, many of which occur in swimming pool accidents where a child or adult falls, dives or jumps improperly, or becomes entrapped or entangled in suction drains or other defective pool materials.
Swimming Pool Accident Injuries
In addition to drowning, the most common types of injuries sustained in swimming pool accidents include:
- head or neck injuries (i.e. traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury),
- limb injuries,
- and death.
In many cases the cause of injury is another party’s negligence, a defective drain or other pool or spa component. In these cases, the injured person or their loved ones may be able to seek compensation for their medical expenses, losses, and pain and suffering.
Below you will find helpful information about swimming pool accident statistics, common causes of swimming pool accidents, how to prevent swimming pool accidents, and what to do if you or a loved one has suffered a swimming pool accident.
Most importantly, with concerns to the latter, we will cover your legal rights, who may be responsible for such accidents, and how to seek further information about swimming pool accidents from a qualified New York and New Jersey attorney.
Swimming Pool Accident Statistics and Facts
The following are some statistics and facts about swimming pool accidents in the United States:
- According to the CDC, more than one fourth of all drowning victims in the United States are children, many of whom die or suffer grave injuries in swimming pool accidents.
- For every one child who dies from drowning in a pool accident, another four will require emergency medical treatment, and many of these will suffer serious and often permanent injuries.
- Approximately 20 percent of children admitted to hospitals for near-drowning will suffer serious and permanent brain damage.
- Most young children who drowned in swimming pool accidents were last seen in the home, had been out of sight for few than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- The average cost of treating a swimming pool accident drowning victim ranges from $75,000 to over $4 million, in patients requiring long-term or life-long care as a result of their injuries.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
The most common root causes of swimming pool accidents are negligence and defective pool or spa parts.
Negligence, or one party’s failure to take the necessary steps to prevent swimming pool accidents, can happen in a variety of ways. For example, an adult supervising children in a pool area or in a home with a backyard pool may fail to adequately watch children or prevent them from entering the pool area. It can take mere seconds for a child to drown, hit their head, or become entrapped in a pool drain or hose. Without vigilant supervision in and around pools, serious swimming pool accidents can occur.
Negligence can also occur in failing to properly secure a pool area. Pools that lack adequate fencing or other barriers pose a serious threat to children and others. Property owners are responsible for making sure that access to pools is restricted and children cannot enter pool areas unattended.
In addition to negligence on the part of responsible pool supervisors or property owners, pool or spa builders or maintenance professionals can also fail to make spas and pools safe for child and adult use. Such individuals have a duty to comply with all state swimming pool safety laws and can be held responsible for swimming pool accidents.
Besides negligence, defective or broken spa or swimming pool components can also lead to swimming pool accidents. Drains are often the most dangerous spa and pool parts. Defective, improperly covered, broken, or poorly maintained suction drains can trap people at a pool’s bottom or entangle them in the drain, which can cause serious bodily harm.
Preventing Swimming Pool Accidents
Numerous steps can be taken to prevent swimming pool accidents before they occur. These include:
- Ensuring the pool area is secure and safe.
- Install an isolation pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the yard, play area, and house entrances.
- The fence around a pool should be at least 4 feet in height.
- The fence should have self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward and are out of reach of children.
- Automatic door locks or alarms can also help prevent access to pool areas from the home or backyard.
- Consider installing a power safety pool cover or other motor powered barrier.
- Remove toys, balls and floats from the pool area right after use to discourage children from entering the area.
- If you have an above ground pool, remove all ladders and steps when the pool is not in use.
- Clearly mark the shut off switch to the pump.
- Make sure a pool is properly supervised and you are prepared
- Adults should considered getting CPR certified
- Always swim with a buddy
- Flotation devices are not adequate substitution for close supervision.
- Always closely supervise children in and around pools and spa.
- Check all pool and spa drains
- Never use a pool or spa that has broken drain
- New drain covers should have a domed shape, which provides more safety than older flat faced drain covers
- Have a pool professional regularly check all drains and other pool parts for integrity and safety
- Consider installing a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), which automatically shuts off when a blockage is detected
What to do After a Swimming Pool Accident: Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death in a swimming pool accident, it is wise to contact a qualified legal professional who can help you to determine your legal rights and options.
You may have the legal right to seek compensation for your medical bills, long term cost of care, other monetary losses, plus compensation for your pain and suffering. While your first priority is undoubtedly taking care of your loved one’s physical well being, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to better understand your options, rights and any time limits pertaining to your case.
In a legal case involving a swimming pool accident, the injured party or their family can seek financial compensation from a responsible party, such as:
- a negligent property owner,
- a negligent adult who failed to provide adequate supervision,
- a builder or pool maintenance worker who either constructed the pool unsafely or failed to prevent accident risks,
- the manufacturer of a defective pool part (i.e. drain, ladder, fence, etc)
Wish to Learn More about Swimming Pool Accidents?
To learn more about swimming pool accidents, please contact the qualified attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola for a free, confidential and no-obligation consultation or call (800) 400-8182.