Swimming Pool Defects
In the dog days of summer, the cool, clear water of a swimming pool can seem like the most inviting thing on Earth. For children, swimming pools are places for fun and socialization, where they can meet up with friends and play water games or just splash around and have a good time. For adults, swimming pools can provide a refreshing break from work and summertime chores, or for some great forms of exercise that are easy on the joints.
However, alongside the fun and recreation lurk dangers and risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, and many of those deaths happen in swimming pools. Many of those accidental drowning victims are children — leading to unimaginable heartache for their families. Swimming pool injuries also may result in permanent disability and significant medical costs.
Sometimes swimming pool accidents can be the result of defects in the swimming pool or some of its parts. When you or someone you love is injured because of a defect in a swimming pool, you may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer, installer, or seller of the pool through a product liability claim. Product liability claims allow consumers to recover compensation for injuries and other damages when products are dangerous or defective, or when consumers aren’t warned about the dangers of using the product. Damages that can be recovered in a product liability claim include:
- Current and future medical expenses related to the injury
- Current and future lost wages
- Disability and disfigurement from the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
You also may be able to recover punitive damages if the manufacturer, seller, or installer’s conduct that led to your injury was reckless or intentional.
Product liability can be a complex area of the law, and cases can involve detailed technical information. If you’re considering pursuing a claim, an experienced product liability lawyer can help investigate your accident, find experts to perform technical analyses, negotiate with insurance companies, or try your case in court. A good lawyer will be your best ally in getting the compensation you deserve.
Common Swimming Pool Defects
Mechanical or structural problems with swimming pools that cause serious injury tend to fall into a few categories.
- Drain and Pump Defects — Drains or pumps that are inadequately covered or are malfunctioning can cause a problem known as suction entrapment. The swimmer may become stuck underwater because of the force of the drain suction or may get their hair caught in a drain and end up seriously injured or drowning because of the lack of oxygen.
- Diving Board, Ladder & Slide Defects — When diving boards are installed in pools that are too shallow, or diving boards or ladders fail, the person using the diving board or ladder can suffer broken bones, head injuries, or drowning.
- Pool Filter Defects — Some pool filters have actually been known to explode because of the compressed air used. Explosions can launch shrapnel for dozens of feet and cause serious injuries, or traumatic brain injury may result from the concussive force of an explosion.
Consequences of Swimming Pool Injuries
Swimming pool accidents can result in a wide range of injuries in addition to drowning deaths.
- Brain Damage — Brain damage can result from a blow to the head or from a lack of oxygen to the brain. If someone falls from a diving board or dives into water that is too shallow, brain damage is one possible consequence. Being submerged underwater for too long without breathing disrupts the flow of oxygen to the brain and may result in brain damage. Brain damage can affect any number of everyday skills and functions, including the ability to speak, move, or think. Brain damage can cause permanent disability.
- Head Injuries — Other head injuries that may result from falling into a pool or diving into shallow water include skull fractures and disfiguring facial lacerations. An exploding pool filter also might cause head injuries.
- Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries — Breaking the vertebrae in the neck or back is a very real possibility when someone falls into a pool or dives into shallow water. Broken vertebrae can be painful and require surgery, or might result in nerve and spinal cord damage and paralysis. A broken neck or back might mean permanent disability and the need for lifelong care.
- Broken Bones and Soft Tissue Injuries — Swimmers or divers may break arms or legs, torn ligaments, or muscle strains when ladders or diving boards fail or they dive into water that isn’t deep enough.
Liability For Swimming Pool Defects
The person or company that bears responsibility for injuries to a swimmer or diver will vary depending on the circumstances and the nature of the defect. The injury may be the result of defects in the design of the pool, in the manufacturing of the pool or its parts, in the installation of the pool, or in representations made when the pool was sold. The responsible parties may include:
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a swimming pool accident with a defect involved, we recommend that you call a Chicago personal injury lawyer with experience in handling these types of cases. At Staver Law Group, we can walk you through your options and help you decide the best way to move forward.