Drownings are the most common kind of swimming pool injury. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death among children under 4 and the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under 14. A young child can drown in as little as a few inches of water, meaning that not even the kiddie pool is entirely safe.
Young children have still-developing brains and bodies, making them unusually vulnerable to serious injury. When such a tragedy strikes, no one can turn back the clock and change what happened. A Marietta personal injury lawyer does the next best thing, which is to obtain the financial compensation these families need and deserve.
Surprisingly, many swimming pool drownings happen when pools are crowded. Each adult assumes another adult is watching the child. Others happen when children sneak into pools and play. These children often sustain fatal injuries. Several minutes usually elapse before someone finds them. A few minutes underwater causes a fatal brain injury.
In general, property owners have a responsibility to keep pools safe. This responsibility applies to private owners and public owners, like a pool at a park or waterpark. Sometimes, the law establishes the standard of care. Most Cobb County cities have pool safety ordinances that cover things like pool safety equipment.
A “No Lifeguard On Duty” or other warning sign is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Such signs just make it easier for an insurance company lawyer to prove the assumption of the risk defense. This defense applies if the victim:
- Voluntarily assumed
- A known risk.
Usually, jurors divide responsibility proportionately in these cases. The victim may have been partially at fault for ignoring a sign, and the owner may have been partially at fault for not providing a safe environment.
The duty to provide a safe environment also applies to falls. Since swimming areas are so wet, owners must be constantly vigilant to keep them dry and ensure that kids walk instead of run. These things are much easier said than done.
Owners also have a duty to ensure the water and pool equipment are safe. If owners breach this duty, a Marietta personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Pool cleanliness requires a delicate balance of water and caustic chemicals. Too much chlorine and other chemicals could cause chemical burns. Not enough chlorine allows dangerous bacteria to grow and multiply.
Chemical burns and bacterial infections are often life-threatening if the victim has a pre-existing medical or other condition.
Owners must also ensure that pool mechanics, like the drain and pump, are working properly. If the drain is too strong, the resulting riptide pulls swimmers, especially children, under the water. If the pump isn’t working right, chlorine gas builds up and eventually escapes into the air.
Occasionally, pumps, drains, and other equipment have design or manufacturing defects. Usually, manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their defective products cause.