Philadelphia has many swimming pools to help us all beat the heat and spend a day in the sun during the summer months. Some pools are open to the public and others belong to hotels, country clubs, or private homes. Some Philly homeowners have made their swimming pools into luxurious retreats right in their own backyards.
While a pool can be alluring in the summer and can provide hours of entertainment for children, there are times when swimming is not all fun and games. People can be seriously or fatally injured at swimming pools and children are especially at risk.
The Duty of Pool Owners
Premises liability law allows accident victims to hold property owners liable for any injuries caused by negligence. A property owner – including a pool owner – has the duty to maintain the pool premises so that the area is reasonably safe for visitors. When a pool owner fails to abide by this duty and someone gets hurt, that owner was negligent and should be liable for the losses of victims.
Swimming pool accident victims must determine whether a dangerous hazard existed that led to their accident. Often, this can require a careful investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Some examples of negligence in swimming pool accident claims include:
Inadequate pool barriers – If pools did not have proper barriers, young children may be able to wander into the pool area and they may fall into the pool without floatation devices or supervision. Too often, this can result in a tragic drowning. Pool owners should have the necessary fence or other barriers around the entire pool area. The entrance to the pool should be a locking gate that is too high for small children to reach.
Hazards on the pool deck – Injuries can happen if the area around the pool is not properly maintained. If there are tools or debris left on the ground, someone can trip and fall – and they can even fall into the pool. Surfaces that are too slick can cause visitors to slip and fall, which can result in a concussion and other serious injuries even if a victim does not fall into the pool itself.
Harmful surfaces in the pool – If someone needs to, they should be able to easily put their feet down in a pool (in shallow water) or grab onto the edge of a pool for assistance and support. If a pool has rough or sharp edges or surfaces, someone may get hurt by trying to find support and may struggle to stay afloat as a result. Not only can someone get hurt by harmful pool surfaces, but they also risk drowning if they cannot grab onto something or stand up.
Lack of signage and warnings – Pool owners should clearly inform visitors of any important information or warnings regarding the pool or risks of injuries. Failure to do so can leave visitors vulnerable to accidents while at the pool. Some of these signs and warnings can include:
- No diving
- Depth markers
- No lifeguard on duty
- No glass bottles
- No running
- Anything else relevant to that particular pool
Improper drain covers – Many kids grow up afraid of drains in pools. As you grow older, you may become less afraid, however, there may be a legitimate reason for the fear. Drains in pools have been known to cause gruesome and devastating accidents. Specifically, swimmers who have gotten too close to a drain have become suctioned to the drain. Not only does this suction hold someone underwater, often until they drown, but it can also cause evisceration, in which the suction actually pulls out the abdominal organs. After a tragic death due to a drain, the federal government passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which required standardized drain covers to prevent such accidents. However, some pool owners still fail to comply with this law and put swimmers in danger of a horrifying accident.
Diving board and ladder accidents – When a pool owner installs additions to a pool, including diving boards or ladders, they must ensure these additions are in good condition and that they are regularly maintained. If a diving board malfunctions, a swimmer can be severely injured. To make matters worse, diving boards are at the deep end of the pool, which can increase the risks of drowning.
These are only some ways that pool owners can be negligent and cause injuries or death.
Some common pool accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Anoxic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
Any of these injuries can cause victims and their families to incur extensive losses, which may continue to increase for years or for the rest of your life, in the case of permanent injuries. Anyone injured at a swimming pool should talk to an experienced lawyer to learn about their rights under the law. If you have the right to file a claim, The Levin Firm will not leave you to the mercy of the insurance adjuster. Instead, we handle every step of the process to ensure the best results possible for you. We are not afraid to turn to the courts and file a lawsuit when needed and we have extensive litigation experience.
Contact a Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorney for a Free Consultation
Swimming is a great way to cool off in the Philly heat this summer, though you do not want your summer to be disrupted by a serious pool-related injury. Pool owners do not always take the care they should and they put visitors at unnecessary risk. The Levin Firm has seen how devastating and costly swimming pool injuries can be and we have represented clients in many types of premises liability cases.
Holding pool owners liable for your injuries is no simple feat. You should always have a skilled personal injury lawyer handling all insurance claims and lawsuits in your case. Our firm can evaluate your situation for free and get started protecting your rights. Call us at 215-825-5183 or contact our office online to discuss a possible claim today.