Swimming Pool Accidents and Lawsuits

Unfortunately, there are many opportunities for accidents to happen in and around swimming pools. When these accidents happen because the pool owner was negligent, victims or their families may be able to take legal action. As injury lawyers in Tacoma, we wanted to provide you with some basic legal information about swimming pool lawsuits.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Types of accidents that happen in swimming pools
  • Understanding when a pool owner might be negligent
  • What you’d need to prove in order to pursue a settlement
  • Real examples of swimming pool lawsuit settlements
  • When to call an injury attorney

Remember: this is general information only. If you have a specific situation that you need help with, call our attorneys nowThere’s never a cost to see if we can help, and we only charge a fee if we take on your case and win you a settlement.

Types of Swimming Pool Accidents

We often think about drownings when we think of swimming pool accidents. But there are other ways people get hurt, too. Let’s look at some common accidents that can happen:

  • Drowning. Drowning is among the most serious type of swimming pool accidents, and young children are often susceptible. Sometimes, a drowning is non-fatal. An event like this can leave a victim with life-changing injuries such as permanent brain damage.
  • Diving. Fractures, spinal cord injuries, and even paralysis can result when the accident involves diving.
  • Slip and falls. Some flooring, such as tile, can become excessively slippery. Obviously, falling around a pool poses a dangerous situation. A fall victim could suffer a broken bone or concussion.
  • Suction force accidents. Certain pool components need to have protective barriers to prevent injuries. In one instance, a girl suffered catastrophic injuries due to a suction force in a pool.
  • Chemical/contamination injuries. The chemical balance of a pool needs to be maintained for the safety of all swimmers.

These accidents could happen at a private homeowner’s pool, a pool managed by the Parks Department, or a business (such as a hotel or theme park).

When Negligence Caused a Swimming Pool Accident

Let’s state the obvious. Not every accident, drowning, or fatality in a pool is the fault of the pool owner. Sometimes, an injury is caused by a person’s own careless behavior. Despite being warned not to, a young child could run around a pool, slip and fall. Or a person could choose to dive into a shallow pool, even though the depth was clearly marked.

The key to having a valid injury claim is that you have ample proof that the pool owner or those responsible for it failed to keep you or your loved one safe. In other words, the owner was aware there was a hazard, and didn’t fix it or warn you.

Here are some examples of how negligence might look in a swimming pool accident:

  • Lack of appropriate fencing to keep children out
  • Lack of markers indicating depth
  • No supervision or warning signs
  • Contaminates in pool
  • Missing or broken safety equipment

When a Swimming Pool is an “Attractive Nuisance”

In general, trespassers are barred from filing personal injury claims. However, there is an important exception. Property owners must take care if they own an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance is exactly what it sounds like – something that’s enticing, but also potentially hazardous. Often, these nuisances are attractive to children, who are most vulnerable to injury. Think of home construction projects, or even a pile of old tires left on a property. Anything that could tempt someone to explore or play.

If viewable from the street, a swimming pool can become an attractive nuisance. This means a homeowner should take reasonable measures to prevent others from being able to gain entry and use the pool. In other words, a victim or their family could pursue compensation if a homeowner didn’t properly fence their pool in.

To be sure, this is a brief summary of a complex topic. As always, talk to an experienced lawyer for targeted advice.

What Victims Must Prove in a Swimming Pool Lawsuit

It may seem obvious to you that a pool owner was irresponsible and caused your injury. However, in order to prevail in a lawsuit, there are some key barriers you’ll need to overcome. In the legal world, we refer to these barriers as a victim’s “burden of proof.” Simply put, it’s up to the victim to prove how the other party was negligent and thus, financially responsible for their injuries.

For instance, could you prove that:

  • The property owner knew about a hazard, but didn’t fix it or warn you?
  • A public swimming pool was improperly supervised?
  • A pool’s hazard was the direct?
  • Your injury was serious enough to warrant medical care?
  • Your injury wasn’t caused by your own careless behavior?

Even if you feel you have sufficient proof, be prepared for the property owner to defend their interest. Plan on the defense to shift the blame on you or deflect their responsibility. Or both. Besides this, certain at-fault parties can have additional obstacles to pursue. For instance, if the pool you were hurt in was owned by your local Parks Department, they may have some immunity against litigation.

Examples of Swimming Pool Settlements

Because swimming pool accidents are often catastrophic or fatal, the settlement awards can be high when negligence is proven. Settlements seek to cover a victim’s financial damages, as well as acknowledge their pain and suffering.

Here are a few instances where the jury found in favor of the injured victim and awarded compensation. Please note that each of these cases was featured in the news, perhaps in part due to the high verdicts. In other words, these results aren’t typical.

  • $19 million for diving accident. A pool owner improperly allowed a flotation raft in their pool. A guest then dived onto the raft, skidded off, and broke his neck, sustaining serious injuries. The defendants were found 70% responsible since they had placed the raft into the pool.
  • $18.5 million for drowning death. A young boy drowned at a pool during a summer camp, even though there were adults nearby. Due to their lack of proper safety procedures, the camp was found liable.
  • $3.8 million for contamination death. Hotel staff permitted a teen to swim in their pool, even though it had been closed by the health department. The water had high levels of bacteria. Tragically, the teen passed away several months later of his injuries.

Of course, many factors go into determining a settlement award. The best way to know if you have a case and its potential value is to contact an injury attorney who handles premises liability.

When to Call an Injury Attorney

If you’ve been reading this post and growing more convinced that you may be able to take legal action, call our injury attorneys. Or, maybe you’re unsure, but you’d like to chat with us anyways. As a reminder, there’s no risk or fee for a consultation.

As we’ve explained, winning fair compensation for a swimming pool accident is rarely easy. Even if it seems like an obvious case of negligence, it’s important that your interests are represented. Give us a call today.

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