Home and commercial swimming pools are places for the family to relax and enjoy a day cooling off. However, they can also be a deadly hazard.
If pools are improperly maintained, poorly installed, or improperly designed, the risk of injuries or death is significant. The majority of swimming pool deaths are preventable, and South Carolina wrongful death attorney Steven M. Krause is willing to investigate a fatal accident and hold the negligent parties accountable. Contact us to begin your case.
According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death in children under four years old, and the second-leading cause of unintentional death in children from 5-14 years of age.
Pools are considered to be an “attractive nuisance”, a type of object that can draw children’s attention, and tempt them to investigate it up close, leading to a risk of drowning or other harm. Owners of residential and commercial pools are often required by their insurance company to fence off their pool to prevent children from accessing the pools.
Children are not the only ones who can drown in home pools. As the CDC has reported, alcohol is a major factor in up to a quarter of emergency room visits for drowning. Further, certain prescription medications can cause similar effects to alcohol, and increase the risk of drowning.
Even if someone is resuscitated from drowning, there is still the risk of additional injuries. Oxygen deprivation may lead to brain damage. Respiratory damage may occur from water in the lungs.
The CDC reports that forty percent of all drowning cases admitted to emergency rooms require further additional care.
Swimming pool drains can entangle swimmers’ jewelry, goggles or clothing. If a swimmer cannot escape, it may lead to their drowning. In rare cases, a swimmer’s torso, limbs or hair can get caught.
In 2008, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act entered into force. This federal law requires all public pools to have devices to prevent suction entrapment around pool drains.
It also requires all new pool drains and drain covers to be designed so that entrapment will not occur. However, older homes, hotels, or apartment pools may not have the new drain covers or entrapment prevention systems.
It is recommended that a diving board not be installed in a pool unless the pool is at least 8 feet deep where the dives occur.
Diving into a pool also carries further risks of swimming pool accidents. If someone dives into shallow water, they risk suffering concussions, breaking the cervical vertebra, compressing the spinal bones, or rupturing ligaments of the spine. All these may lead to damaging or severing the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis.
If the board is not maintained, then the risks may increase. Boards need to be inspected for cracks, especially underneath. The tread on top needs to be free from algae or debris and not worn or peeling. Most importantly, the pool owners need to make sure people on the diving board follow the proper procedures, and put up signage that reminds them of the rules.
Swimming pool accidents involving drowning and diving can have lifelong consequences for survivors. Drowning survivors may have to deal with brain damage for the rest of their life. Some may be in a vegetative state, which requires constant medical care, and can never return to a normal life. Paralyzed swimmers face a lifetime of specialized care for their condition.
In addition, paralyzed patients face additional threats, such as vulnerability to pneumonia, and a risk for blood clots. Both paralysis and near-drowning require extensive treatments, all of which have significant costs for treatment.
Several simple precautions can help reduce swimming pool injuries. To reduce the risk of swimming pool deaths, owners and operators must make sure:
If a swimming pool accident results in an injury or death that is not the fault of a swimmer, the management and/or owner of the pool may be liable for damages from the accident.
If pool components or equipment failed, the manufacturers or installers may be liable for damages that resulted.
If a person suffers a swimming pool accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the people who over served alcohol or provided drugs may be liable, if they were aware of the person’s intoxication levels around the time of the accident.
If someone you love has died from a swimming pool accident, you may have many questions. The Law Office of Steven M. Krause, PA has over four decades of experience with life-changing accidents. Contact our office today.
Steven Krause is a personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation lawyer who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated form the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and has been practicing law for 40 years now. Steven Krause believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.