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Swimming pool accidents and the injuries that follow are worst-case scenario incidents for anyone who uses swimming pools – especially children and their parents. California’s climate lends itself well to swimming pools being open year round, which unfortunately results in a high number of swimming pool injuries occurring in the Golden State every year.
However, swimming pool accidents aren’t unique to California, as more than 11,000 fatal and nonfatal drowning incidents occur every year across the United States. Drowning incidents affect children most often, as drowning is the number one cause of death for children between ages 1 and 4.
Otherwise, men are at higher risk of drowning than women, as more than 80 percent of all drowning victims are male. While drowning certainly can cause death, drowning also causes serious and permanent injuries to victims who are fortunate enough to survive. Nearly 40 percent of all drowning incidents treated in an emergency room require hospitalization, as compared to 10 percent for all other types of unintentional injuries.
In other words, swimming pool accidents and swimming pool injuries are serious. When they occur, victims should speak to an Orange County swimming pool accident attorney to assess whether a lawsuit should be filed and compensation should be sought from a negligent person or entity which caused their injuries.
What are the most common causes of swimming pool accidents?
Swimming pool accidents can be caused by a variety of conditions and circumstances that occur in and around swimming pools. Most commonly, accidents are caused by negligent acts or omissions by people or entities who are responsible for maintaining the pool or the property on which the pool is located. But more specifically, swimming pool accidents usually stem from some of the following situations:
- A pool owner’s failure to provide fencing or gates, leading to a child falling or jumping into an unattended pool and drowning
- A public pool lifeguard being unqualified, not present, or not paying attention
- A defective installation or manufacturing of a pool product or equipment, such as a diving board, water slide, or pool filter
- Entrapment and suction from pool drains and filter mechanisms
- Overcrowding of public pools
- Improper application of pool chemicals, resulting in chemical burns
- Inadequate lighting or signage in public pool areas
Who is responsible for pool injuries in Orange County?
The responsibility – and ensuing liability – for pool injuries in Orange County depends on the type of injury suffered by a victim of a swimming pool accident. The most common types of people and entities responsible for pool injuries include the following:
Pool Operators and Property Owners
Property owners and pool operators are the most commonly liable parties for swimming pool accidents and injuries that occur in public and private pools. Generally, pool owners are required to ensure that their pools are safe for others to use, especially if they invite others to use the pool as guests. But when it comes to children, pools also give rise to a unique form of liability that doesn’t occur in other contexts.
The law describes swimming pools as “attractive nuisances,” meaning that they are uniquely attractive to children, who are thus at a much higher risk of being injured by swimming pools. Because small children are not able to swim, falling into a pool or jumping into a pool unsupervised poses a much more dangerous risk than an adult doing the same – as even adults who cannot swim would generally be able to either stand in a pool or find their way out.
Due to pools being labeled “attractive nuisances,” the law requires that pool owners take steps to protect children from falling into their pools. Generally, that means that a pool owner must put up fencing around their pool. If a pool owner fails to put up fencing and a child falls into a pool, the pool owner could be facing liability for the child’s injuries or death.
Otherwise, pool operators and property owners can be liable for injuries in or around swimming pools by the simple nature of their property ownership. When an injury occurs at a public pool, the public pool operator may be liable for the injuries suffered if they can be attributed to the pool operator’s negligence. Likewise, any injuries suffered by a person using a private pool may be attributable to the property owner’s negligence, leading to the property owner’s liability.
What are the types of dangers found in a swimming pool?
Swimming pools are host to a multitude of dangers that uniquely pose risks to children, but pools can be equally dangerous to adults. Among the dangers found in a swimming pool are the following:
- Drowning risk from water depths in which children and some adults may not be able to stand or otherwise navigate to an edge
- Powerful drains and filters that create risk of suction, leading to entrapment and drowning
- Inadequate signage which may inaccurately describe water depths
- Improperly installed or maintained pool products or pool chemicals
- Dangers associated with other people using a public pool, such as contagious disease or physical injury
Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries
The primary goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to seek compensation for your injuries in a manner that fully and fairly compensates you. Thus, the specific amounts of compensation that may be sought depend on the specific facts of your case. But an experienced Orange County swimming pool accident attorney will ensure that your lawsuit seeks compensation through every avenue possible. The types of compensation that may be available in a swimming pool accident lawsuit include:
- Hospital bills and medical expenses
- Wrongful death damages, including funeral expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering damages
- Punitive damages
- Loss of consortium for spouses and domestic partners
- Emotional and psychological damages
The first step to recovering compensation for your injuries is to reach out to an attorney and seek a consultation about your potential case. Your prospective attorney can assist you in assessing what types of damages you may be eligible to seek, and then work with you on putting together a lawsuit to obtain them on your behalf.
Contact an Orange County Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
Our team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP is ready to assist you and your family with pursuing compensation after a swimming pool injury in Orange County. To schedule a free case consultation, call us today at (310) 477-1700.