Swimming pools and their surrounding areas can be a great event location whether you’re hosting a barbecue or having a get-together with friends. You (and many Floridians) likely also enjoy using the pool as a place to relax, exercise, or enjoy some downtime. Unfortunately, swimming pools can also be the site of many dangerous accidents, including but not limited to:
- Slip and fall accidents, slipping and falling because of pool water that has splashed on nearby surfaces
- Drownings or near-drownings, suffocating after being trapped under or submerged in water for an extended period
- Pool drains suction accidents, suffering injuries caused by the suction system in the pool
- Diving board or pool slide incidents, being injured after diving or because of a faulty diving board or pool slide
- Pool toy entrapments, being trapped underwater by swimming pool toys that have flipped or popped in the water
- Electrocutions, suffering injuries after pool electrical equipment gets too close to the water
If you are licensed or invited to use a swimming pool, the pool and/or property owner owes you a duty of care to ensure you are safe while using their pool and aware of any hazardous conditions concerning the swimming pool. After suffering from injuries in a swimming pool accident, you can hold a negligent party liable for your damage (as long as you can prove the negligence).
After an accident, you only have 4 years to file a claim. If you plan to file a wrongful death claim, you must bring a claim forward within 2 years of the deceased’s death.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
5 common causes of pool accidents are:
- A lack of supervision. If someone, especially a child, is left alone, they can easily get into an accident as soon as you turn your back or leave to run that errand. If children plan to play in or around the water, be sure an adult or teen is there to supervise. Adults should also take extra precautions when they plan to go swimming; if you go swimming alone, tell someone your plans and ask them to check on you in a few hours.
- Substance abuse. It is dangerous to drink alcohol or consume drugs while around a pool or if you plan to swim. Alcohol, as well as sun exposure and exertion, can cause dehydration, which can cause slowed movement, lack of coordination, blurred vision, and impaired vision.
- Playing around the pool. While you and your friends or family may come to the pool to have fun, sometimes people ignore safety protocols, such as do not run around the pool or don’t push others into the shallow end, which can result in an accident.
- Negligent security. Because there is no fence, gate, door, or security measure, young children can fall into uncovered pools and drown.
- Inexperienced swimmers. Many children and adults lounge around the pool or even get in with floaties (or other flotation devices) but do not know how to swim well. Because of their lack of inexperience, they may suffer injuries after a near-drowning or entrapment.
Common Injuries Sustained in Swimming Pool Accidents
The type of injuries sustained is dependent on the type of accident the victim is involved in; the type of accident can also have an impact on the severity of the injury as injuries can range in magnitude and the lasting impact it has on the victim’s life. Injuries that someone can sustain in a swimming pool accident include but are not limited to:
- Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries. After a slip and fall, the accident victim can break bones as they try to break their fall or land in an awkward position.
- Brain damage and/or injuries. After a near-drowning a victim may have severe brain damage because of the loss of oxygen; victims can also sustain a contusion, traumatic brain injury, or other brain injuries after a diving accident or slip and fall.
- Disembowelment. If someone gets too close to or sits on a pool drain or skimmer box, especially a small child, they can have their intestines suctioned through their rectum.
- Lacerations or cuts. If the victim’s hair or skin is pulled by the drains or they fall, they can end up with cuts or gashes.
- Spinal injuries or other catastrophic injuries. After certain swimming pools, victims may suffer spinal cord, disk, or compression fracture injuries.
How to Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents
In Florida, there are about 1.2 million private and public pools. According to 2021 Florida drowning statistics from Service Industry News, the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 years old (in the U.S.) is drowning, and every day, 6 people drown in pools in the U.S. Here are some tips to help you avoid swimming pool accidents.
- Limit the amount of alcohol consumption.
- Reduce the number of toys in and around the pool.
- Do not rely on foam or blowup toys.
- Recognize and honor your body’s limits.
- Avoid the water during thunderstorms.
- Ensure one party present knows CPR.
- Use the buddy system.
- Supervise children at all times.
- Do not dive or push others into the shallow end.
- Ensure the pool depths are marked.
- Check the pool equipment.
At Hubbs Law Firm, our premises liability attorneys are equipped to help you and/or a loved one file a claim and pursue compensation after a swimming pool accident. For the legal help you need and deserve, contact our team to schedule a consultation by calling (305) 570-4802 or reaching out online.