Swimming Pool Accidents in California
Who Is Liable for a Swimming Pool Accident?
Poolside and swimming-related accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children who are younger than the age of 5 years old. Without proper safety measures, a pool can become a deadly place.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, nearly 163 children who were younger than 15 years old fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas in 2017. 112, about 70 percent, of the victims were children younger than the age of 5.
Out of 9 states, California was ranked as the 2nd state, tied with Texas, for the highest number of pool and spa drownings. Both states had reported 14 drowning incidents, while Florida had 25.
It has been reported that the biggest drowning threat for toddlers is unsupervised access to water, such as swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. About 69 percent of drowning among children younger than 5 years old happen during non-swim times.
A swimming pool owner, like any property owner, is responsible for all accidents on their premises. The owner should have reasonable and effective barriers to keep unsupervised children out. Research suggests that adding fencing will help prevent more than half of all swimming pool drownings.
Swimming pool accidents can be caused by more than inadequate fencing. If you or a loved one was injured after a swimming pool accident, our team of premises liability lawyers are always available to help you.
We have decades worth of experience handling premises liability claims and are confident that we will get you the compensation you deserve for any damages or losses caused by the swimming pool accident.
What to Do After a Swimming Pool Accident
- If anyone is injured or requires medical help, please call 911 immediately before doing anything else. Then take the following steps.
- Document evidence. Like in any other accident, always write down names, addresses and phone numbers of any potential witnesses. Use your cell phone to take photographs of the accident scene, and include any defective pool equipment that may have contributed to the accident. Do your best to collect any defective products and keep them in a secure place. You should also:
- Obtain police reports and records from the hospital emergency room.
- Take notes of any conversations with witnesses, the police and emergency medical personnel.
- Write down everything you possibly can about the accident.
- Contact a Los Angeles premises liability attorney. It is understandably difficult to think about legal issues soon after a tragedy, but a premises liability lawyer can help protect your legal rights during this challenging time.
Soon after a drowning occurs, any negligent parties will contact their insurance providers. These insurance companies have adjusters, investigators, and lawyers whose primary objective is to minimize liability and offer you the smallest settlement possible. Remember, never discuss a pool accident with anyone without first consulting with your premises liability lawyer.
Liability in a Swimming Pool Drowning Accident
Determining liability in a swimming pool drowning incident will involve one, or all, of three legal theories: Premises liability, negligence, and product liability.
When it comes to swimming pools, all property owners have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to ensure that their pool is safe for all users. Premises liability applies to:
- Private and residential swimming pools owners.
- Property owners with private or commercial pools made available for guests. members, or tenants (campgrounds, motels, apartment complexes, health clubs, etc.).
- Property possessors or operators.
- Government property owners of public municipal swimming pools or school swimming pools.
Premises liability is usually focused on a property owner’s lack of adequate pool maintenance or supervision. Examples include the following:
- Warning Signs. Property owners may be held liable for a drowning accident if they did not post appropriate warning signs. In the absence of a lifeguard, signs indicating the depth of water or “swim at your own risk” must be visible to all pool users. Hidden or illegible signs are inadequate and mean an owner can still be liable.
- Inadequate Fencing. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in-ground pools without fencing are 60 percent more likely to involve drowning than pools with fencing. Owners who choose to leave their swimming pools open and unsupervised without installing proper barriers or warning signs could be held liable for a drowning incident.
- Improper Maintenance. A property owner who fails to maintain a pool or any necessary safety equipment in good condition can be found liable. For example, swimming pools that are only half-filled may cause liability issues if a swimmer hits their head at the bottom and suffers an injury, or even death.
If improperly installed pool equipment causes an individual to drown, then that could be an example of negligence on behalf of the installers. Another example could be when an employer hires an unqualified lifeguard and the lifeguard’s negligent supervision directly leads to someone drowning.
A product liability claim is directed towards the manufacturer of the swimming pool or defective pool equipment that is responsible for causing a swimming pool drowning accident. Anyone who is involved in the “chain of product” may share a degree of responsibility, depending on the circumstances.
There are three types of defects:
- Manufacturing defects made during the manufacturing process.
- Design defects made before the product was manufactured.
- Inadequate user instructions or safety warnings.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a swimming pool accident, our expert team of premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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