• JC Serrano

Attorneys for Pool Accidents in California

Updated: Apr 26

Find lawyers for a swimming pool accident causing personal injury

A pleasant day at the pool can quickly devolve into a nightmare. When swimming-pool accidents occur, others may not realize how traumatic such events are for the injured person's family and friends. This is especially true if the pool owner fails to follow established safety regulations, such as the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. A simple lapse in judgement can result in a serious injury, such as electrocution or even drowning.

pool accident lawyers in california

Of course, ignorance of the law or cost-cutting is no defense when someone is hurt, especially when the injured person is a child who will live the rest of their lives with debilitating pool injuries. If you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool accident, it is critical that you contact a swimming pool accident lawyer you can trust to get you justice and prevent future accidents.

Federal and state safety laws should be followed by spas and swimming pools that cater to children and families. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules, and this disregard for the law is frequently at the root of drownings and other swimming-pool mishaps. Some pool owners let their safety fences deteriorate, their water quality deteriorate, and they even ignore the need for a lifeguard presence and training, as well as regular pool maintenance.

The property owner may be liable for damages if someone is injured or drowns in a swimming pool accident. Owners are responsible for keeping their property safe for visitors, whether it is a public facility or a private property. Understanding the legal requirements for operating a pool in California can assist victims and family members in determining whether legal action is necessary.

Drowning: As Defined by WHO

"Drowning is the loss of consciousness as a result of submersion or immersion in liquid." Until recently, only fatal drownings were considered when defining a common meaning for the word "drowning." Experts in clinical medicine, accident epidemiology, and emergency teams, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), advocated for a standardized definition of drowning in 2005, which included non-fatal events. It was decided to use the following definition.

Swimming Pool Drownings: The Causes

Drownings in swimming pools can be caused by a number of causes, the majority of which are completely avoidable. Unintentional drowning is most common among men, infants, and African Americans, according to the CDC.

The following are some of the most common immediate causes of swimming pool drownings:

No Visibility. Overconfident swimmers may push themselves beyond their physical limits, while untrained swimmers may be unaware of the dangers. The majority of schools do not need swim lessons, and underserved populations do not have access to public pools at all, leading to the high number of non-swimmers and raising the risk of drowning in these areas.

There are no safety barriers or fences. Children or inattentive adults, particularly in the case of in-ground pools, can fail to notice the pool and fall in.

Inadequate monitoring. This is particularly true for young children who have never learned to swim. Although you don't actually need a licensed lifeguard on duty at your home pool 24 hours a day, you should make sure that someone is always keeping an eye on any children in the area.

Slips and falls are a common occurrence. Exhortations from lifeguards not to run on the deck are well-founded. Decks are often made of slippery materials that can cause victims to strike their heads on the hard deck during a fall. Loss of consciousness as a result of such head trauma will greatly increase the risk of drowning.

Victim panics underwater. Unconfident swimmers sometimes panic while in the water. This fear can cause hyperventilation and thrashing, raising the chances of the swimmer inhaling water or falling below the surface.

Concussions, strokes, or heart attacks are all possibilities. Swimmers can experience an unrelated health incident while in the water, which may result in water inhalation and temporary paralysis.

Intoxication/Inebriation from drugs and alcohol. The majority of adult and adolescent drownings are caused by alcohol consumption. Alcohol impairs judgment, delays response times, and has a major effect on balance and basic motor skills, all of which lead to an increased risk of drowning.

Drowning deaths are particularly tragic. Even if there are no deaths, accidents from prolonged submersion can be significant and life-changing. According to reports, for every child who drowns fatally, another five would need emergency room attention for a non-fatal incident.

Furthermore, more than half of these emergency-care patients need hospitalization or a move to a different facility for further treatment. As compared to the 6% hospitalization rate for other accidental accidents, this figure for both fatal and non-fatal drowning victims is high.

Non-fatal Drowning

Even if they avoid drowning, people who are submerged underwater for an extended period of time are at risk of severe complications.

Hypoxia, the medical term for oxygen deficiency, can cause serious brain damage in victims. An acquired brain injury is the medical term for this type of injury. The following are some of the long-term implications of an acquired brain injury:

  • A coma, irreversible loss of basic functions (vegetative state) or brain death are all potential outcomes. The distinctions between these conditions are defined in this section.

  • Memory disorders, speech problems, and concentration problems are all examples of cognitive disabilities.

  • Both fine and gross motor skills are affected.

Slip and Fall. Slick surfaces are popular on pool decks and surrounding areas. Even if someone walks carefully, they will lose their balance and fall. Slipping and falling on a hard surface may have significant consequences, including:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): A fall can cause a blunt force injury to the head. A traumatic brain injury caused by the physical impact may have the same negative consequences as hypoxic brain damage.

  • Injuries to the spinal cord that may result in paralysis or other long-term disabilities

  • A broken ankle, fractured hip, or sprained wrist are examples of bone fractures and soft tissue injury.

Injuries from Diving. Diving into shallow pool water can result in catastrophic head, neck, and spine injuries. These injuries can result in paralysis or brain damage in serious cases. Lacerations to the head or face, as well as other soft tissue injuries from blunt force, are other common diving injuries.

Injuries Caused by Pool Drains. These injuries can be life-threatening and are more common than you would expect. Certain pool drains, according to reports, can exert up to 300 pounds of pressure per square inch. Due to the force of its suction, a poorly covered drain may cause serious injury or death. The suction from a pool drain can cause a number of dangerous entrapments, including:

  • Hair entrapment: Long-haired swimmers are more likely to have their hair stuck in a drainage pipe.

  • Extremity entrapment: Poor drain cover maintenance can cause swimmers' hands or feet to become trapped. Amputation of fingers or toes, as well as broken bones, may occur in serious cases.

  • Body entrapment: Some pool drains are powerful enough to capture a small child's body, causing soft tissue and organ damage.

  • Fixture entrapment: Bracelets, necklaces, and portions of a bathing suit may become entangled in dangerous drains, preventing the swimmer from surfacing.

Pathogen Exposure. Pools must be tested on a regular basis for contaminants that may cause severe illness, such as E. coli. Outbreaks of E. coli The CDC points out that a pool with enough chlorine levels does not destroy all germs right away. It's also worth noting that chemicals used to treat pools can endanger swimmers. Pool chemicals, while appropriate for good water quality, can cause medical problems such as chemical burns, eye and tissue injury, and respiratory problems if used incorrectly.

Swimming Pool Accidents Can Sometimes Lead to Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries, unlike personal injuries in general, are debilitating in nature. Because of the severity of their injuries, victims are unable to function, which has a negative impact on all aspects of their life, in addition to having to deal with massive medical bills.

A traumatic accident will change the victim's life and the lives of those around them for the remainder of their lives. It has the ability to cause long-term illnesses and chronic pain, reducing a person's quality of life. Furthermore, when you have lifelong impediments as a result of a serious injury, basic everyday tasks will become difficult.

Each state defines a catastrophic injury differently, but it usually applies to a personal injury that causes one or more of the following:

  • Health conditions (long-term, life-long)

  • The victim's lifespan is shortened

  • Permanent physical and emotional disabilities

  • It is doubtful that the victim's life will return to its pre-injury state.

In terms of the extent and seriousness of the damage, a catastrophic injury varies from the broader definition of personal injury. A traumatic accident is one in which you are permanently affected as a result of the occurrence. If your situation fits into this category, a personal injury lawyer will assist you in filing a claim for additional compensation.

A few examples of traumatic injuries are as follows:

  • Disfigurement

  • Damages to internal organs

  • Severe burns

  • Spinal cord injuries (leading to full or partial paralysis)

  • Amputations

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of brain injury

These injuries can cause a lot of emotional pain as well as mental health problems. They'll most definitely have an effect on your ability to work, or worse, make it hard for you to find work. If you have suffered a serious injury, you can need long-term medical attention, rehabilitation, or counseling, as well as ongoing personal support.

Who is Liable in Pool Accidents?

When Swimming Pools that are privately owned

If the pool is privately owned, the pool owner can be held responsible for any accidents that occur thereunder premises liability laws. In relation to visitors to their premises, property owners have a legal obligation to ensure their protection and take appropriate safety measures to avoid accidents and injuries.

When anyone is on the property for the good of the property owner, such as whether they are offering requested services, including gardening or childcare, this obligation is increased. When minors are invited to a house, property owners have an additional liability and must ensure that all children are properly monitored when near the pool. If you invite your neighbors to a barbeque and one of their children drowns in your pool by mistake, you will face a negligence lawsuit from the child's parents.

The petitioner must show that the pool owner was deficient in their duty of care to visitors in order to be successful in a premises liability lawsuit. Negligence is described as when someone fails to do what a rational person would do in a given situation.

If, for example, an owner fails to install fencing around their in-ground pool, fails to provide sufficient supervision to visitors, or fails to adequately maintain their pool, they can be considered negligent.

Adults on the property that are not invited visitors or conscripted service providers—in other words, trespassers—are not owed a duty of care by the property owner and are thus legally responsible for any injuries they suffer while on private property. Pools, on the other hand, are considered a "attractive nuisance," and pool owners have a duty of care to minors, even if they have unlawfully entered the house. Owners of private pools should take precautions to discourage minors from entering.

When Swimming Pools are for Public Use

Public pool operators, like private pool owners, are legally responsible for their premises; however, many public pool operators will ask visitors to sign a liability waiver before being given access to the pool. Another common practice is for public pool managers to post signs stating that pool users disclaim liability, effectively eliminating the need for patrons to sign a paper waiver.

The question of whether or not these waivers are legally enforceable is still being debated. Guests cannot, in general, waive a pool owner's responsibility for injuries caused by the owner's gross negligence or recklessness. Even if you signed a liability waiver, you would still be able to sue if the pool owner deliberately forced you into the pool.

Waivers with wording like "users disclaim all responsibility" are deceptive in this respect, because in some cases, even though they signed a waiver, pool guests might still be able to file a viable lawsuit. If you find yourself in a difficult pool liability situation, try our free 24/7 live chats for an initial consultation and a referral to a swimming pool drowning attorney. They will know what to do better than anyone.

For Swimming Pools Run by the Government

What about government-run pools, such as those run by your city's Parks and Recreation Department? While government pools are subject to the same premises liability principles as private pools. A private citizen, on the other hand, cannot sue the government in a traditional civil lawsuit. Instead, you must adhere to the procedures outlined in the California Tort Claims Act, which are applicable to claims brought against government agencies.