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Southern California has thousands of swimming pools, both public and private. While these swimming pools provide a refreshing respite from our warm weather, they also present significant risks for drowning and other injuries. According to the CDC, 11 fatal drownings occur every day in the United States, in addition to 22 nonfatal drownings.
But drownings aren’t the only type of injuries that can occur in and around swimming pools. Chemical burns from pool chemicals, injuries associated with defective products such as diving boards, and slip and fall injuries are also commonly associated with swimming pools. When a person is injured at or in a swimming pool due to the negligence of another person or entity, that person may be legally entitled to compensation for their injuries.
What are common causes of swimming pool accidents?
The most common causes of swimming pool accidents are varied, and include acts or omissions taken by property owners, product manufacturers, pool maintenance workers, and others who work near or around swimming pools. Some of these common causes of swimming pool accidents include the following:
Overcrowding of Public Pools
Overcrowding occurs when a public pool is allowed to be used by more people than the maximum capacity of the pool. While overcrowding itself may not cause injuries, overcrowding can make a situation involving an injury much worse. In an overcrowded pool, lifeguards are not able to see and access swimmers to the same extent that they would be able to in an appropriately regulated pool. If a swimmer begins to drown, and a lifeguard wasn’t able to save them, but would have been able to save them but for the overcrowding, a legal claim for liability against the pool operator likely arises.
Failure to Provide Fencing
Because children are especially susceptible to fall or jump into pools when not supervised by an adult, the law generally requires that swimming pool owners take steps to prevent that from occurring. If a property owner fails to provide fencing around his or her pool, and a child falls into the pool, resulting in drowning or injury, the property owner will likely be liable for that injury or death.
Defective Pool Toys and Products
Pool toys, floats, and other pool products are frequently used in swimming pools by children and adults. When these products are defectively manufactured or installed, they can cause serious injuries and death. One example of such a product is a faulty diving board which breaks upon a person’s otherwise normal usage, causing the person to fall onto a pool deck and be seriously injured. If the diving board broke due to a defective installation, maintenance, or manufacturing, liability can be sought for injuries caused by those defects.
Drain and Filter Suction and Entrapment
Pool drains and pool filters oftentimes have powerful suction effects that can cause injuries to swimmers. Because of their small size, children are especially susceptible to these types of injuries, which involve body parts or clothing getting stuck in drains, leading to drowning or other serious injury.
Who is liable for a swimming pool accident in Riverside?
Liability can be sought in a lawsuit against any person or entity whose wrongful acts caused another person to be injured. In the context of a swimming pool accident lawsuit, liability is assigned to whichever person or persons caused the victim to be injured, which depends on the nature of the victim’s injury. Thus, the most commonly liable parties for swimming pool accidents include:
- Property owners and swimming pool operators
- Lifeguards and lifeguard supervisors
- Pool equipment manufacturers
- Maintenance and chemical workers
How long do I have to file my Riverside personal injury claim?
California law requires that a personal injury lawsuit is filed within two years from the date that the injury occurred. Because swimming pool accident cases are a type of personal injury lawsuit, that deadline applies. If a swimming pool injury occurs on February 1, 2022, then a lawsuit would need to be filed on or before February 1, 2024.
In some cases, the deadline can be extended, but those cases are rare. Most often, the deadline is extended where injuries are not known by a plaintiff until after an accident occurs. In swimming pool accident cases, such an episode is highly unlikely. For that reason, it is essential that you consult with a Riverside swimming pool accident attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
What compensation can I recover after a swimming pool accident?
The amount of compensation in any lawsuit, including swimming pool accident lawsuits, should adequately compensate a victim for the injuries they sustained and the resulting effects on their lifestyle. Specific numbers vary according to a specific case’s facts, but especially in cases involving death or significant permanent injuries, swimming pool accident lawsuits can yield significant amounts of compensation.
Among the types of damages that can be recovered after a swimming pool accident are lost wages, medical bills, medical expenses such as travel, gas, and hotel accommodations, wrongful death damages, funeral expenses, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In cases involving particularly egregious conduct, punitive damages may be available, which are designed to deter other people or entities from engaging in similar conduct.
California law places no cap on damages recoverable in a personal injury suit, so an accident victim and his or her attorney are free to pursue any amount of damages that will fully and fairly compensate the victim for his or her injuries.
What should I do after a swimming pool accident in Riverside?
The first priority after any type of accident is always to ensure the safety and health of you and your loved ones. Call 911, seek medical attention, and take care of safety first.
After injuries are treated or medical situations are otherwise stabilized, you should consider contacting an attorney with significant experience in swimming pool accident cases. You may have a claim for compensation for the injuries you or a loved one suffered, and seeking a consultation from an attorney involves no risk whatsoever.
Contact a Riverside 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 accident in Riverside. To schedule a free case consultation, call us today at (310) 477-1700.