Swimming is the favorite pastime of many people, especially during hot summer or spring weather. Swimming not only refreshes the body but also provides a cool and soothing sensation throughout the body.
However, swimming pools can be hazardous places if proper care is not taken. Unfortunately, accidents happen in swimming pools. Swimming pool accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, such as:
Bruises and contusions.
Complications from lack of oxygen.
Traumatic brain injuries.
Spinal cord damage.
Because of the injuries sustained, you can develop significant medical debt and can incur other financial losses. If someone else’s negligence led to the accident and your injuries, you may be entitled to fair compensation. Below, we will discuss common types of swimming pool accidents as well as the steps you can take if you are injured in these types of accidents.
Premises Liability Law in Illinois
Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners or operators liable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property. In Illinois, premises liability law requires property owners or operators to maintain a safe environment for visitors, and property owners must exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries.
If a visitor is injured due to the property owner's negligence, the property owner may be liable for damages. Thus, property owners with swimming pools should take steps to ensure people legally on their property are safe from pool-related injuries.
Common Types of Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents can result in drowning, near drowning, slip and fall accidents, or head injuries. Many swimming pool accidents occur due to negligence. Common swimming pool accidents involve:
Lack of safety equipment or inadequate safety measures. Swimming pool owners or operators must put safety measures in place, such as fences, safety covers, and safety equipment like life jackets and flotation devices.
Lack of supervision. Drowning can happen quickly and silently, and it can happen to even the most experienced swimmers. Children are much more vulnerable to drowning accidents because they are not strong swimmers yet, and they may not have developed water survival skills. Drowning is one of the main causes of accidental death in children aged 1 to 4 in the United States; children can quickly get into trouble in a swimming pool if adults are not supervising them. Drowning accidents commonly occur because of a lack of proper supervision or the absence of adequate fencing around the swimming pool area.
Tripping hazards. Slippery surfaces around swimming pools can be dangerous, causing slip-and-fall accidents that can result in serious injuries. Slippery surfaces aren’t the only tripping hazard that can lead to injuries; loose pool toys, cords, clutter, pool covers, uneven pool decks, and other hazards can lead to a dangerous fall.
Electrical system issues. Electrocution or electrical shock accidents can also happen in swimming pools. Swimming pools are usually installed with electrical systems, including underwater lights and pumps. If these electrical systems are faulty and not regularly serviced, they can cause electrical shock accidents in and around the pool. These accidents can lead to severe burns, coma, or death.
Unsafe pool toys. People can become trapped on pool toys that pop or flips unexpectedly and drown; they can also suffer from other injuries if a pool float or product is not manufactured properly or if they fail to advise users on safety protocols. This type of incident would fall under product liability law. Product liability pertains to the legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for injuries or damages caused by their products. A product may be considered defective if it has a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a lack of adequate warnings or instructions. In order to pursue a claim of product liability, a plaintiff must prove that the product was defective, that the defect caused their injury or damages, and that the injury or damages were reasonably foreseeable.
Pool drains suction issues. Many swimming pool accidents involve poorly maintained or faulty drain suction systems; unfortunately, these suctions can lead to people, especially children or people on the smaller side, being disemboweled. It is important to note that this type of accident may not fall under premises liability. The fault may lie with the suction system manufacturer or with whoever conducts maintenance or repairs on the system.
Legal Options for Swimming Pool Accident Victims
Victims of swimming pool accidents may have legal options to recover damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may file a lawsuit against the swimming pool owner, operator, or any other liable party.
Some of the critical factors that may determine liability include:
The cause of the accident.
Whether the property owner or operator knew or should have known about the hazard.
Whether the property owner or operator had put adequate safety measures in place.
Whether your injuries are the direct result of the liable party’s negligence.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Swimming Pool Accident
If you or a loved one is involved in a swimming pool accident, take the following steps:
Seek medical attention immediately.
Gather relevant evidence, including photos, witness statements, and accident reports.
Contact an experienced premises liability attorney in Illinois who can advise you on your legal options.
Refrain from communicating with the insurance company or the other party without a lawyer to avoid jeopardizing your legal claim.
Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys in Illinois
With decades of collective legal experience, the attorneys at McHargue & Jones, LLC are committed to helping clients pursue damages in premise liability suits. If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, we can walk you through your legal rights and options.
Our attorneys can also support you from the start to the finish of your case. From calculating your damages to developing a unique case strategy to handling negotiations or litigation, our firm is here and equipped to help.
Schedule an initial consultation by calling (312) 487-2461. We look forward to hearing from you.