Swimming Pool Accidents
In the heat and humidity of Illinois’ summers, swimming pools can offer cool relief and a reason to spend time outdoors with friends and family in otherwise unpleasant weather. But swimming pools come with great risk as well – nine people drown each day in the United States. Drownings are also the second-leading cause of fatalities among children. Even nonfatal near-drowning incidents can leave adults and children with life-altering injuries like internal organ damage.
If you have a swimming pool or you are planning to hang out near the pool, be sure to check out our blog post on how to prevent accidents.
Types of Swimming Pool Accidents
Injuries or accidents can occur at private pools, community or public pools, or residential pools. They can also occur in inflatable pools that are commonly referred to as kiddie pools. Public pools are required by law to have lifeguards on duty, particularly where children under the age of 16 are in the pool without parental or guardian supervision. Lifeguards also must be on duty at wave pools, water slides, and water parks. For swimming pools, there must be one lifeguard per 100 bathers or 2,000 square feet of water. Injuries and drownings occur despite lifeguard staffing, especially when lifeguards are distracted or understaffed. Private pools must abide by Illinois law but may have additional staffing or rules about pool usage. If you are injured at a private or public pool, you may have a claim against the property owner, property manager, or other responsible party if their negligence led to your injury.
However, many swimming pool accidents happen at home or at a friend’s home. Because people’s home pools aren’t bound by the same regulations for fencing and supervision that public-access pools are, drownings and severe injuries are more common in places where people feel most comfortable.
Common swimming pool accident injuries include:
- Slip and fall injuries near a pool
- Diving board injuries
- Limb injuries such as broken bones or lacerations
What Causes Pool Accidents?
Swimming pool accidents fall under an area of law called premises liability. In Illinois, you may have an accident injury claim if the following can be proved:
- The property owner or a responsible party for the swimming pool owed you a duty of reasonable care,
- The property owner or responsible party for the swimming pool breached this duty through either careless action or careless inaction,
- There was an injury to you proximately caused by this breach, and
- You suffered damages (monetary and non-monetary) from this injury.
Essentially we are trying to determine if the property owner was negligent and if that negligence caused your injury. Negligence around swimming pools could include:
- Defective parts in the pool or around the pool
- Missing safety marks that denote shallow versus deep ends of the pool
- Malfunctioning or defective diving boards
- Inadequate pool maintenance
- Inadequate pool lighting
- Missing safety equipment
- Improperly trained pool staff (or absent pool staff)
- Damaged or absent pool ladders
How Can I Prevent Pool Accidents?
Each year we hear about more and more accidents involving children and pools. In addition to our blog post about preventing pool accidents, we have gathered the below resources for you to consider.
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created PoolSafety.gov, which is a great resource for families. It provides information about pool standards and regulations in an easily accessible fashion. If you’re considering putting in a residential pool, hot tub, or spa, you may want to take a look at their tips and guidelines for improving safety for both adults and children.
- Learn more about the signs of drowning. It is frequently a silent killer and most people who are drowning are incapable of calling for help.
- Have you heard of secondary drowning? This blog post by a young mother of two is an example of secondary drowning, also known as dry drowning. Though you might feel reassured that your loved one is safe, if someone breathes small amounts of water in while struggling in the water, a pulmonary edema can develop. WebMD has gathered some commonly asked questions and symptoms to look out for.
- If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you may want to explore Infant Self-Rescue survival swimming lessons. The New York Times recently covered this topic, and the lessons can help prevent infant water deaths.
Personal Injury Claims for Pool Accidents
If you or someone you love have been hurt in a swimming pool accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may have a personal injury claim for the damages you have suffered. These can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, physical therapy, and more. This is where an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer who can help you through these troubled and stressful times can be useful. At Staver Law Group, we shoulder the paperwork and frustration of dealing with insurance companies, other parties, and more so that you can worry about healing and recovering from the incident. We are here to support you through your injury or tragedy.