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Swimming Pool Drowning Lawyer

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Swimming pool accidents can be devastating. One moment, everything seems fine, the next moment, an individual could be suffering serious injuries or even become a victim of drowning. Whether they take place at a homeowner's association pool, apartment pool, or a private residence, pool accidents can leave families and friends wondering what went wrong.

The Doan Law Firm, P.C. has an extensive history of representing pool accident victims and their family members across the United States. Attorney Jimmy Doan is a skilled drowning attorney with more than 15 years of experience in the aquatic safety business. The legal team at the firm handles each case with the utmost respect and care, while fighting aggressively for fair compensation.

You can best protect your important legal interests by promptly contacting a swimming pool accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000. Our firm can schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers at your convenience at one of our 40 local offices across the country, or online. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation. Indeed, our firm makes an attorney fee guarantee – we will never charge an attorney fee in your case unless we win for you.

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Types of Pool Accident Injuries

Often, pool accidents are not the result of egregious error on the part of a parent or family member. In fact, many pool accident victims are under some sort of supervision at the time of the incident. Whether injuries are sustained as a result of a defective pool gate or a pool drain cover accident, the lives of all involved can change drastically in a matter of moments.

Non-fatal Pool Injuries

Ranging from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be sustained when an individual hits his or her head, to disembowelment, which can occur if an individual sits on top of a pool drain, non-fatal pool accident injuries can have lasting effects for victims and their families. Medical expenses for these individuals can skyrocket, and may remain elevated for the remainder of their lives.

Fatal Pool Injuries

Fatal pool injuries are catastrophic for friends and family members. Many happen when parents or caretakers take their eyes off a child for just a moment. It takes just a moment for small children to wander toward and fall into nearby swimming pools. Other fatalities occur as a result of lifeguard negligence or pool operator negligence.

Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

In the United States, approximately 10 percent of swimming pool accidents involve diving. These accidents can result in severe and even debilitating injuries and in some cases death. While many pool accidents do happen in residential swimming pools, they also occur with alarming regularity at public locations as well as at resort and hotel swimming pools.

Some of the the most common causes of pool accidents include:

  • Consuming alcohol prior to or while participating in aquatic activities
  • Diving into inadequate water depths
  • Diving tricks
  • Improperly maintained diving boards
  • Improperly maintained pool deck areas
  • Inadequate staff training
  • Improper securing of swimming pool

Alcohol and Swimming Pool Accidents

As is the case with many accidents, alcohol is a frequent contributing factor when it comes to aquatic accidents. In fact, according to the CDC, alcohol is involved in:

  • "up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, like boating or swimming"
  • "nearly 1 in 4 emergency department visits for drowning"

Diving Into Inadequate Water Depths

The American Red Cross recommends a minimum of nine feet of water depth for safer head first dives into swimming pools. This includes dives from a lower-level diving board as well as from the pool deck itself. If a pool has what commonly is referred to as a high dive, there needs to be water of a greater depth in order for a head first plunge into the water to be safer. Over 57 percent of swimming pool diving accidents occur in a water depth of four feet or less.

In regard to inadequate water depths, it is never safe to dive into an above-ground swimming pool, according to the American Red Cross. “No diving” signs should be placed conspicuously around all swimming pools that do not meet minimum water depth requirements. The same signage should be placed at appropriate locations at pools where there is a deeper end with a water depth that allows for diving.

Diving Tricks

Keep in mind that only experienced, properly trained swimmers should ever dive head first into a swimming pool. Unfortunately, every year people are seriously and even fatally injured in diving-related swimming pool accidents because they attempt some sort of diving “trick” for which they are not trained or qualified to undertake. According to the American Institutes for Research, about 17 percent of all diving accidents occur when a person attempts an unusual dive or trick.

Improperly Maintained Diving Boards

Another of the most commonplace underlying causes of swimming pool accidents is improperly maintained diving boards. The fact is that diving boards are far more complicated pieces of equipment than most people appreciate. The types of negligent maintenance issues are extensive. They include everything from improper maintenance of a diving board’s surface to inadequate upkeep of the hardware and mechanical components of a swimming pool diving board.

Improperly Maintained Pool Deck Areas

Improperly maintained pool deck areas are another of the more common underlying causes of a swimming pool accident. These include swimming pool decks that are not properly maintained, decks that are damaged, and deck areas that are improperly designed or installed in the first instance.

Inadequate Staff Training

Inadequate staff training is another negligent factor that plays into injuries and even deaths that arise from swimming pool accidents. For example, if a public swimming facility, waterpark, resort, or hotel maintains a lifeguard or other type of personal safety staff, they need to be trained appropriately to deal with all reasonably anticipated types of aquatic accidents. This includes being able to respond appropriately to a pool accident.

Improper Securing of Swimming Pool

Swimming pool accidents occur with some regularity as a result of a swimming pool and surrounding area not being appropriately secured. In other words, individuals – usually children or teens – access an inadequately secured swimming pool “after hours.”

Contact a drowning lawyer today to get the help you need.

When is a Pool Owner Responsible?

Pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death case represent complicated legal matters. This can particularly be true when a personal injury or wrongful death claim arises out of a swimming pool drowning accident. At the heart of such a claim for justice, accountability, and appropriate compensation for injuries, damages, and losses is demonstrating when a pool owner (and perhaps others) is responsible for a drowning accident.

There are four elements that need to be demonstrated in order to successfully pursue a claim for negligence arising out of a swimming pool drowning accident. In order to hold a particular party responsible for a swimming pool drowning accident, each of these elements must be satisfied.

We take a moment to address each of these elements in turn:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty of care
  • Breach of duty of care was the cause of the accident
  • Actual injuries were sustained

Duty of Care

In order to pursue a negligent swimming pool drowning accident personal injury or wrongful death claim, a duty of care must exist. What this means is that the victim of a drowning accident must demonstrate that the person alleged to caused the accident had a legal duty to keep a swimming pool and its perimeter in a reasonably safe condition. For example, if a person drowns in a hotel swimming pool, the owner of the property (and associated pool) has a legal obligation to keep the pool and its surroundings in a reasonably safe condition.

Breach of Duty of Care

The next element that must be satisfied in a swimming pool drowning accident claim is a breach of the established duty of care. For example, the owner through management of a hotel and its swimming pool needs to have appropriate rescue and lifesaving equipment on hand.

Breach of Duty Caused Accident

The third component of a personal injury or wrongful death claim arising out of a swimming pool drowning accident is the establishment of a connection between the breach of the legal duty owed to a person at a swimming people and accident and injuries sustained as a result of that incident. The breach of the duty of care must be the reasonably foreseeable cause of the accident and resulting injuries.

By way of example: a poorly or improperly trained lifeguard on a duty at a swimming pool who fails to respond properly to an emergency can reasonably be categorized as a foreseeable contributing (or even primary) cause of injury or death sustained in a drowning accident.

Actual Injuries Sustained

Finally, the successful pursuit of a swimming pool drowning accident claim necessitates a demonstration that the individual pursuing such a case suffered actual injuries. Of course, in many drowning accident cases, sustained injuries are apparent. Many drowning victims lose their lives in these types of accidents. Moreover, oftentimes in nonfatal drowning accidents, victims of these incidents suffer debilitating injuries (even permanent disabilities) as the result of such occurrences.

The bottom line regarding injuries when pursuing a claim following an alleged drowning accident is that such injuries cannot be purely speculative. A claim cannot be pursued based on a vague proposition that a person might face some type of injury at some unspecified point in time.

Documenting a Swimming Pool Drowning Accident

Gathering evidence directly following a swimming pool drowning accident is vital if the incident in question was caused by the fault or negligence of someone else. The aftermath of this type of incident is emotionally and otherwise challenging because odds are significant a person lost their life or was injured severely. Nonetheless, as an experienced swimming pool drowning accident lawyer will tell you, gathering as much evidence regarding the incident as soon as possible can result in a stronger claim for justice, accountability, and compensation.

There are seven important steps to take to document properly a swimming pool drowning accident:

Seek a Medical Examination

If the incident involved a nonfatal drowning, the individual who suffered this type of water emergency must seek medical attention. First of all, the drowning accident victim needs to be examined to make certain that he or she will not fall victim to secondary drowning. Secondary drowning occurs when an individual has taken on some water as a result of the accident but does not immediately exhibit any symptoms of injury. There are plenty of grim situations in which people who thought they were uninjured following an incident of this nature end up suffering secondary drowning and end up losing their lives. In addition, if a claim is to be pursued following a negligently caused drowning accident, an initial medical examination will be vital to that process.

Notify Authorities

Contact local law enforcement and emergency services right away to report any injuries or fatalities related to the drowning incident. The police will also likely conduct an investigation into what happened and obtain statements from witnesses in order to determine liability.

Interview Witnesses

If there were any witnesses present at the time of the incident it is important to interview them in order to get their account of what happened before, during, and after the incident itself. Witnesses should be asked detailed questions about events leading up to and after they noticed something was wrong with the victim, if possible. In this day and age, thanks to technology, statements from witnesses can be videoed on mobile devices.

Photograph or Video the Scene

Speaking of mobile devices, when gathering evidence following a swimming pool drowning accident, photograph or video the entirety of the scene. Ideally, obtain images or video the area from different vantage points.

Examine Circumstances Surrounding Incident

Any other relevant factors that may have contributed directly or indirectly towards an individual's accidental drowning should be examined as thoroughly as possible. This can include whether or not proper safety measures were followed prior, during, or after the drowning accident.

Preserve Any Physical Evidence

Take steps to preserve any evidence related to the incident such as clothing worn by the victim or debris found in or around the pool area that could provide clues as to what happened. If possible, store these items in a safe place until further investigation can be done by law enforcement agencies or other professionals.

Collect Insurance Paperwork and Related Documents

Collect insurance paperwork: Make sure you obtain copies of all relevant insurance documents such as homeowner's policies. Obtain lifeguard certification, if applicable, before leaving the scene.

Obtain Legal Assistance

Finally, in the aftermath of a swimming pool drowning accident in which you were injured or a loved one was injured or died, you are wise to make prompt contact with an experienced lawyer. You can connect with a dedicated swimming pool drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm any time by calling us at (800) 349-0000. We keep our swimming pool accident telephone line staffed 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, including all major holidays.

A Skilled Drowning Lawyer Can Fight for Victim's Rights

When a loved one is involved in a pool accident, a drowning attorney from the firm works closely alongside the family to help them through this emotional time. Attorney Jimmy Doan and his team of legal professionals review each case, gathering evidence to hold the right individuals responsible and recover the maximum monetary compensation possible. The firm is dedicated to helping pool accident victims and their families and is available 24/7 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Swimming Pool Drowning FAQs
  • Q:Is a swimming pool an attractive nuisance?

    A:In some jurisdictions, an attractive nuisance is applicable in the law of torts. It refers to an item that is appealing to children which a property owner may be held liable for if it causes injuries to a child. The cutoff point for "child" is not exact. The injured child will be evaluated by the courts. A pool can qualify as an attractive nuisance if a child has easy access to it. If the pool is surrounded by a fence or gate and kept locked, it will most likely not be considered an attractive nuisance.

  • Q:When do most private pools have accidents?

    A:A drowning accident in a swimming pool is most likely to occur in the summer months, usually when caretakers are distracted, and a child gains unsupervised access to the open pool. Family is usually close by during drownings, but it only takes a few minutes of a distracting incident for a drowning to happen. 

  • Q:When can babies swim in a pool?

    A:There is no official age recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for babies to enter a pool.  However, most pediatricians advise waiting until the six month mark to take your baby swimming, in order for the baby to have better control over their bodies. It's also good to enforce pool safety protocol as early as possible, discouraging your baby/toddler from entering the water on their own and from running by the pool. The AAP also recommends swimming lessons starting at about one year of age.

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