• Julianne

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.

This method is somewhat different from filing a typical case, with a much shorter timeframe and a variety of limitations. Before filing some kind of legal argument, it's always a good idea to speak with a lawyer.

Pool Owner's Responsibilities

Pool owners are required by the California Pool Safety Act to take appropriate safety precautions for visitors invited to the house. The majority of wrongful death and personal injury claimants file litigation claiming that the property owner refused to ensure that visitors were safe.

Did the pool owner meet the following safety criteria if you or a loved one is injured in someone else's pool? At least two of the following safety criteria must be met by pool owners:


  • A self-closing, self-latching enclosure with no more than two-inch vertical gaps and four-inch horizontal gaps that is at least 60 inches wide.

  • There must be complete clearance around the fence to prevent children from climbing it with items.

  • Isolation from the property's largest residential home


  • A pool cover that can sustain 485 pounds, whether it's automatic or manual;

  • Drains well enough to avoid drowning from dangerous standing water.

  • They have to pass perimeter deflection checks to prevent people from falling in the gap between the pool cover and the pool.

Alarms (Exit/Entrance)

  • On exit doors or windows leading to the pool room, an alarm can be mounted. An alarm may be installed in a pool to notify the owners of unauthorized access to the water.

  • The alarm should be loud enough to wake a person up even while they are vacuuming or sleeping.

  • To reach a remote receiver, water alarms must sound for at least 20 seconds.

  • Public swimming pools, locking hot tubs, and apartment complexes are exempt from the above criteria.

What To Do in a Pool Drowning Incident

If a serious injury happens as a result of an accident, time is of the essence. The accident survivor will have a better result if you respond quickly.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room. As soon as possible, have someone call 911 and provide a thorough account of the situation. If you're at a pool with a lifeguard, you can be assured that they've been qualified in CPR and first aid. CPR training is available for a variety of careers and activities, so ask around to see if someone has it.

Obtain contact details from anyone who was present at the time of the incident or those who may have seen it. If the accident happened at a public pool, ask the administration to file an incident report. Take pictures of the deck and pool area where the incident happened, as well as any remotely faulty equipment that could have played a role in the accident.

Consider filing a police report, particularly if the pool operator is responsible for wrongful death or gross negligence.

Document any injuries suffered by the victim after they have stabilized. Take pictures of apparent injuries and make a list of any signs that aren't visible. Keep copies of all documents related to the victim's care, such as medical bills, diagnostic test results, medication history, and emergency department records, among other items. Keep track of all conversations you have with physicians, medical practitioners, police officers, witnesses, and other relevant parties.

Seek contact with a lawyer who has experience representing people who have drowned or have been injured in swimming pools. Make sure you have all of the above documents on hand to give your pool accident lawyer the most accurate picture of the situation and the strength of your proof. Without your counsel present, avoid speaking with representatives of any insurance company.

What if it happens on a family member or a friend's property?

When an accident happens at a friend's or family member's house, an often complicated situation becomes much more difficult. Unfortunately, data shows that guests at friends' or family members' pools are up to six times more likely than those at public pools to drown. This may be due to the fact that we feel secure in the presence of trusted people and, therefore, lower our guard.

So, how do you deal with the aftermath of a drowning injury at a friend's or family member's house? If the property owner has homeowner's insurance, their policy will cover accidental accidents on their property, while wrongful death is less likely to be protected.

If they don't have insurance or their coverage doesn't cover the accident, and you can't reach an agreement personally, the only option is to file a legal claim. Of course, your personal relationships will face special obstacles as a result of this.

Is It Possible For Me To File A Personal Injury Claim?

Yes. The failure to provide a suitable environment for others is referred to as negligence in the sense of premises liability. For example, if pool equipment was installed incorrectly, the installers may be held liable. If a lifeguard was employed but was unqualified, or if their negligent supervision resulted in a drowning, a public pool employee could be held responsible.

In addition, several cities in California have passed legislation requiring the development and maintenance of private swimming pools. Locked gates and fences, as well as special pool covers, may be required by these rules. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can be construed as negligence.

Negligence in Swimming Pool Injuries

The most common concept of "negligence" is the failure to exercise reasonable care. A plaintiff or survivor, along with their personal injury counsel, must show that the defendant in the suit was indirectly responsible for the plaintiff's injuries in order to win the case.

It's important to pinpoint the duty of care violation and provide a detailed breakdown of all costs incurred as a result of the violation. Proving the other party's fault in the case is one of the most significant ways of receiving full compensation in the litigation. The bulk of accident and injury lawsuits will hinge on proving the defendant's negligence.

As you develop your personal injury claim, your personal injury lawyer will alert you to any conditions in your case that may hinder the legal process. In California, personal injury plaintiffs face a variety of difficulties, including the unpredictability of liability among different parties and comparative negligence.

Identifying Defendants

Lawsuits filed for pool accidents can have multiple defendants. You need to think about which safety precautions were violated, who violated them, and if there are multiple people that contributed to the carelessness that led to the accident.


  1. Who owns the swimming pool? You must know who is to blame for the accident in order to claim them as a defendant in a case. Establishing ownership can seem easy, but it is critical to do so prior to filing the lawsuit, as it will save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

  2. Was someone in charge of pool safety? Lifeguards are legally responsible for ensuring the welfare of pool patrons in public pools. However, it should be remembered that private pool owners are also responsible for ensuring that their pool is safe for their visitors. If an accident occurs, failure to provide sufficient safety measures can result in a claim of negligence.

  3. Is it true that the pool owner complied with all legal criteria for pool safety? A pool must be fenced in or have some other protection around it according to California law. If a child may easily gain entry to a pool by circumventing a fence or gate, and the child is injured, the pool owner can be held liable. Even if it is explicitly specified that children are not permitted to enter the pool area unaccompanied, the owner must have a security barrier to discourage children from entering and potentially becoming injured.

If you can't seem to identify the culprits on your own, or if you're missing something that's making it difficult for you to decide, finding a pool accident lawyer might help. A legal team or a hired lawyer knows the law well, and they may help you find as many responsible defendants as your case entails.

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What Damages Can Be Collected?

Under California law, there are two categories of damages awarded in personal injury cases: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

  • Health costs

  • Wages or salaries lost

  • Lost future wage or earnings

  • Costs of healing and rehabilitation

Non-economic damages

  • Disfigurement

  • Mental Anguish

  • Disabilities, both physical and emotional

  • Depression

  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

  • Shame or humiliation

  • Loss of relationships and overall enjoyment of life

How Do You Measure Pain and Suffering?

Even the most severe injuries necessitate evidence of suffering and pain. You and your legal team can do this in a variety of ways:

  • The injured party will also testify to the extent and duration of their suffering.

  • The injured party's distress would be attested to by the doctor, as well as family and friends.

  • Proof that the injured party sought medical help for their pain and suffering is crucial in court and during mediation proceedings.

The amount of pain and suffering damages awarded must be fair or equitable as a condition, although there are no set limitations to how much you can sue for. The jury is instructed in Jury Instruction CACI 3905A that there is no set norm and that they must decide a "fair number" based on their "common sense."

The California legislature has decided that the people of the state should decide what constitutes "fairness." This means that no complicated legal requirement is needed; all that is required is that it is fair and appropriate. Although clear methods have been used in the past, there is still a lot of room for uncertainty due to the lack of a true guideline.

In the end, determining a "fair amount" for compensation is highly subjective. It is in possession of the personal injury lawyer and the jury, who happens to be there at the moment the case is heard.

Wrongful Death from a Swimming Pool Accident

When a spouse or child is killed in a pool accident accident, the surviving spouse or child is unable to fight back and hold others responsible. Surviving family members, on the other hand, would be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to keep those who caused the accident accountable.

In a California wrongful death case, the following family members can be compensated:

  • Spouse of the deceased

  • Registered domestic partner of the victim

  • Decedent's child(ren)

  • Grandchildren; if the victim's children are deceased

  • Anyone else who (under California's succession rules) is entitled to the decedent's property

The purpose of damages in a wrongful death case is to compensate the family members for their loss. There are both monetary and non-monetary losses involved, such as:

  • A funeral's cost

  • Burial expenses

  • Lost earnings and future earnings have resulted in financial losses for the family.

  • Loss of relationships (companionship, support, and affection)

Are There Damage Caps for Pool Accident Claims in California?

The amount of money a personal injury victim may receive in compensation for their losses is limited in some jurisdictions. These limits are referred to as "damage caps." The amount of money a person may demand economic damages after an accident in California is not limited. This program covers all medical bills, lost wages, monetary costs, and other compensatory damages.

In most personal injury cases, there are no limits to the amount of compensation that can be received for pain and suffering damages (non-economic damages). You have the right to sue for as many damages as you want if you have sustained an accident, wrongful death, or the survival of a loved one.

Are there Specialized Pool Accident Attorneys?

You are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, damages, lost income, and pain and suffering if an individual or company is to blame for the accident and injury. It can be difficult and time-consuming to negotiate with an insurance agent or another entity. Because of your lack of experience, you will be able to settle for less than the accident and injury warrant. Using the services of a qualified pool accident lawyer will help you get the money you deserve.

Personal injury cases can get very complex and involve a lot of people. Several insurance agencies are often involved, as well as legal counsel.

Your Swimming Pool Accident Attorney will go through the following with you:

  • Gather data and documents for evidence, including accident reports, photographs, and video, as well as eyewitness testimony.

  • Ensure the medical reports are reviewed by a competent medical expert.

  • With the assistance of medical and economic experts, to determine the overall damages.

  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance provider and all parties concerned (and bringing the case to trial if necessary) to ensure you are reasonably paid.

Find California Pool Accident Lawyers

What would you do if you or a loved one were involved in a serious pool accident? What if you suffered long-term, disfiguring injuries from surviving a drowning? Contacting a legal team as soon as possible following a pool accident is the right thing to do. At 1000Attorneys.com, you can get a free initial consultation via live chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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