Southern California boasts a large number of swimming pools in public and private establishments. Although these aquatic facilities offer a delightful escape from our region’s scorching temperatures, they also pose considerable dangers of drowning and related injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the United States has an average of 11 daily fatalities and 22 nonfatal accidents due to drowning.
However, it’s not just drowning injuries that occur in and around swimming pools. Pool chemicals may cause chemical burns, defective products like diving boards can result in injuries, and slip-and-fall accidents are also frequently linked to swimming pools.
When an individual is injured at or in a swimming pool due to the negligence of another person or entity, the victim may have a legal claim for compensation.
If you have sustained injuries due to a negligent swimming pool accident, get in touch with Gavel Law Firm immediately at (951) 289-0202 to schedule a free consultation.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents can be attributed to various factors involving property owners, pool maintenance workers, product manufacturers, and other parties. Some prevalent causes of swimming pool accidents include:
Overcrowded Public Pools
When a public pool is allowed to accommodate more individuals than its maximum capacity, it leads to overcrowding. In an overcrowded pool, lifeguards are limited in their ability to observe and reach swimmers compared to a properly regulated pool.
If a swimmer begins to drown in an overcrowded water facility and a lifeguard is unable to rescue them, we have to examine if this accident would have been preventable. That is, would the lifeguard have been able to promptly rescue the victim in a regulated environment? If so, there is a strong likelihood of a liability claim against the overcrowded pool operator.
Not Complying with Fencing Requirements
To ensure the safety of children, who are particularly vulnerable to accidents in unsupervised pool areas, swimming pool owners are usually obligated by law to implement preventive measures. If a pool owner neglects to install proper fencing around their pool area, they would likely be held responsible if a child falls into the pool and gets injured.
Flawed Pool Products and Toys
When pool toys, floats, and other swimming pool products are manufactured or installed with defects, they can pose a significant risk of injuries and even death. An example of such a hazardous product is a poorly constructed diving board that unexpectedly breaks while being used normally, resulting in a person falling onto the pool deck and sustaining severe injuries.
Drainage Systems and Suction Hazards
Pool drains and filters possess strong suction power that can potentially harm swimmers. Young children, due to their small stature, are particularly vulnerable to such hazards, wherein body parts or garments can become trapped in drains, resulting in drowning or severe injury.
Near-Drowning Injuries in Swimming Pools
Nonfatal submersion injuries have the potential to cause substantial brain damage, leading to long-term disabilities like memory deficiencies, learning impairments, and loss of basic functions. In some circumstances, these pool injuries can tragically render the individual in a permanent vegetative state.
Many of these cases can be directly attributed to the property owner’s negligence, making them completely preventable had the owner prioritized the safety of others.
When evaluating the owner’s liability, a proficient swimming pool accident attorney will analyze numerous elements. For instance, the owner may have neglected pool maintenance, provided insufficient pool supervision, did not put up warning signs, or installed substandard diving boards.
Determining Liability for a Swimming Pool Accident in Riverside
In California, the party who must pay for injuries is the individual or organization whose negligent actions led to the injury. The most common negligent parties held responsible for swimming pool accidents include:
- Owners and operators of swimming pools
- Lifeguards and lifeguard supervisors
- Manufacturers of pool equipment
- Workers involved in the maintenance and handling of pool chemicals
- Child care employees.
To obtain justice against negligent parties, we at Gavel Law Firm examine the facts of each case and identify the most effective legal basis for a lawsuit, such as:
According to California law, negligence is the failure to undertake actions that a reasonable individual would have taken in similar circumstances. An example is a lifeguard or a babysitter who failed to perform their reasonable duties.
Occasionally, a drowning accident may be due to the negligence of a third party instead of the pool owner. For instance, if the pool equipment was improperly installed, the installers may be held accountable for their negligence.
If a defective swimming pool or pool equipment causes harm or fatality, the manufacturer or seller can be held responsible. Defects can come in the form of faulty design, shoddy manufacturing, improper installation, or inadequate safety warnings regarding the product.
California premises liability law subjects property owners to potential liability if an injury occurs on their premises. Whether the property owner is accountable depends on their knowledge of any hazardous conditions present on their property. If they knew or should have known of the hazardous condition, they must fix it or sufficiently warn their guests about it.
If an accident arises due to the failure of a swimming pool owner to meet this safety obligation, they may be held liable. The premises liability application can extend to the following areas:
- Residential swimming pool owners
- Property owners of private or commercial pools used by guests or tenants (including landlords, hotels, gyms, etc.)
- Government property owners, particularly those responsible for municipal swimming pools
- Individuals in charge of the property during the incident, like tenants renting a house with a swimming pool.
Recoverable Damages Following a Swimming Pool Accident
Various types of damages are eligible for recovery in the aftermath of a swimming pool accident. These include lost wages, medical bills, and medical expenses including travel, gas, and hotel arrangements.
Additionally, compensation can extend to wrongful death damages such as funeral expenses, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
In cases involving exceptionally severe misconduct, the court may award punitive damages to the victim or their family. The purpose of these damages is to discourage individuals or entities from committing similar actions, serving as a deterrent.
There is no limitation on the amount of damages you can seek in a personal injury lawsuit in California. You have the freedom to pursue any sum that adequately and equitably compensates you for your injuries.
However, to be successful in your claim, you will likely need a competent personal injury attorney. At Gavel Law Firm, we can help maximize your claim and find the best legal avenues for an ideal outcome.
Contact Gavel Law Firm Today
If you or someone in your family has been hurt in a swimming pool accident in Riverside, reach out to Gavel Law Firm. Led by accomplished personal injury lawyer Bryan Mason, we are highly experienced in handling pool accident cases. Mr. Mason is dedicated to advocating for you to get a favorable recovery from your unfortunate incident.
Contact Gavel Law Firm at (951) 289-0202 today to arrange a complimentary case review and consultation.