Houston Swimming Pool Accident Attorneys
A swimming pool accident lawyer may be able to help when you or your loved one is injured in or around a pool. There are more than 10 million residential swimming pools and more than 300,000 public pools across the country. Most people are aware of the risk of drowning. However, there are many ways people can be seriously injured around a swimming pool other than drowning accidents. Slip and fall accidents, defective drain injuries, and chemical exposure are a few.
Anytime you have a pool, there must be adequate monitoring, controls, and supervision to ensure the pool environment is safe. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed or around a pool, you may be entitled to compensation. get a free consultation with a swimming pool accident lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., to learn your rights. 1-800-298-0111.
Pool Accidents & Drowning
Approximately 600 people drown each year in swimming pools. 76 children drown in 2021 in the State of Texas. Approximately 21 of those were children who drown in pools and 65% of those occurred in the June-August months according to the Center for Disease Control. If you or your loved ones are the victims of a drowning accident, call a drowning accident lawyer. There is no charge for the initial consultation and you pay no attorney’s fees nor case expenses unless we make a recovery for you.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents?
The most common causes of swimming pool accidents include:
- slippery surfaces
- negligent supervision
- alcohol use
- defective equipment
- inadequate security
- unsafe diving
Being aware of the causes and knowing what to look for can help prevent swimming pool accidents.
Accidents Due to Slippery Surfaces
The walking area around pools is typically designed with a course, porous texture rather than a smooth surface to prevent slippery surfaces from developing. However, often when private pools are added after the fact or surfaces around bathrooms are designed for easy cleaning vs safety, there can be slippery surfaces that pool users must navigate. The pool owner/operator must identify areas around his pool that pose potential slip hazards when water builds up from dripping swimmers.
A slip and fall accident on concrete as the result of feet sliding out from under someone can result in serious head injuries and even traumatic brain injury. The pool owner has a duty to identify unsafe areas and remedy them or warn invited users of the danger. A pool owner is liable for damages caused when he neglects this duty.
Negligent supervision around a pool refers to the failure of the pool owner or operator to keep a close watch on people left in his or her charge. There is a duty, particularly when minors are involved, for pool owners to supervise the conduct in and around the pool to maintain safety. Too many accidents happen when there is a pool party and everyone drops off their kids expecting one or two parents to handle all the details on top of supervising a pool full of kids. A responsible adult who can swim should be supervising the attendees at all times to prevent horseplay, diving in unsafe areas, running along the sides, and other unsafe activities. Failure to provide adequate supervision is grounds for legal liability.
What is Negligent Lifeguarding?
Negligent lifeguarding is the failure of a lifeguard to carry out a duty imposed upon lifeguards in the same manner that an ordinary and prudent person would carry out those duties. Negligent lifeguarding can occur in any of the following ways:
- having too few lifeguards for the pool size and occupancy;
- failing to watch the high-danger zones such as diving boards, drains, slides, and high-traffic surfaces;
- failure to prevent horseplay;
- failure to scan the pool due to distractions such as cell phones, fraternizing with pool guests, or sleeping on the job;
- maintaining an inadequate staff of backup lifeguards to relieve fatigue;
- hiring untrained, uncertified lifeguards,
- failure to provide rescue equipment, and;
- failing to timely act in the event of an emergency.
Consequences of Negligent Lifeguarding
It only takes seconds for permanent brain damage to occur in a near-drowning event Thus each of the above failures by a lifeguard or pool facility can be tragic. Call a swimming pool accident attorney if you suspect your child or loved one was the victim of negligent lifeguarding.
Alcohol Use and Accidental Drownings
According to the Center for Disease Control, 70% of accidental drownings involve alcohol use. Alcohol decreases reaction time as well as coordination required for swimming. Additionally, exposure to the sun amplifies the effects of alcohol. Those charged with the duty of supervising others should never consume alcohol while on duty. Persons using the pools should not be allowed to consume an excess of alcohol.
Unkept and unprotected pool equipment can be very dangerous. Certain pool drains have been prohibited due to their tendency to catch small fingers and toes and create a suction that does not allow escape. Lights that are not properly secured to the wall can pose an electrocution risk. Chemicals that are not securely stored or not regulated property can be a burn or poisoning hazard to unsuspecting children. A pool operator has a duty to make sure the pool is safe for people they invite to use the pool. A swimming pool accident lawyer can use these failures as evidence to prove negligence when someone is injured.
Anytime there is a potential for small children to gain access to a pool area, there should be an enclosure around the pool to prevent unwanted access. Apartments, hotels, and public pools commonly have gated access to prevent the accidental drowning of small children who might wander into the pool area unattended. Public places like these have to anticipate that a child of a guest may wander off. It is negligent to fail to provide some sort of security around pools in high-traffic places such as these.
Private pools should, at a minimum, be fenced-in so as not to attract children in the neighborhood. Failure to provide some sort of security around the pool creates an attractive nuisance. If you have small children in your home, you should have an extra latch on your door that children cannot reach and/or an extra pool fence to prevent accidents.
Diving accidents can result in some of the most devastating injuries that swimming pool accidents can cause including a broken neck, cracked skull, traumatic brain injury, and death. Diving boards must have a sufficiently deep area. Furthermore, diving from the side or shallow end should never be permitted. If your child is injured due to someone failing to supervise and prevent unsafe diving, call a swimming pool accident attorney to evaluate your case. No responsible lifeguard should allow this kind of conduct to continue.
Swimming Pool Safety Requirements
Public swimming pools in Texas are subject to a long list of safety requirements, including the placement of emergency telephones to required signage, marking of changes in depth, barriers securing the premises, and more. Even homeowners with backyard pools are required to take certain safety precautions and are generally liable for any injuries occurring in or around their swimming pools.
Negligence of the Victim in a Swimming Pool Accident
In some cases, the person injured or killed in a swimming pool accident has been negligent himself or herself. Some examples include swimming while intoxicated, swimming alone (especially after a pool is closed), or engaging in horseplay in and around the pool. Under Texas law, a person who was partially responsible for his or her own injuries may still be able to recover damages, as long as the victim was less than 51% responsible. However, the recovery will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to the victim. However, children under the age of 6 cannot be negligent as a matter of law, and; children from 6-14 are judged by what would be negligent for a person of the same age.
What Injuries Can a Near-Drowning Incident Cause?
Near-drowning incidents can cause permanent brain damage and severe emotional trauma. When someone is held underwater too long they may suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. In addition to this, severe mental and emotional trauma can result from any near-death experience resulting in nightmares, personality changes, anxiety, and other outward manifestations of psychological injury. These effects may be long-lasting or even permanent requiring treatment, counseling, and care.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Pool Accidents?
When a pool accident happens at a private person’s home, the accident is typically covered by the person’s homeowner’s liability insurance policy if the homeowner’s negligence caused the injury. Personal injury protection or Medpay coverage may provide limited benefits even when there is no negligence. If there is a mortgage on the home, most banks require that the homeowner carry liability coverage on their homeowner’s policy to protect them. If you are unsure about a policy, you should have it reviewed by an attorney to be sure.
Who Pays When I Sue a Person for a Swimming Pool Accident at Their Home?
The majority of the time, it is the homeowner’s insurance policy that pays a settlement or judgment when you bring a claim against a private pool owner for a swimming pool accident at their home. While the facts of every case may be different, most people with swimming pools carry homeowner’s insurance to protect themselves in the event that someone is injured in and around a pool.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Pool Accident?
Without a pool accident lawyer, determining it is often very difficult for a family to determine whether a swimming accident is the result of the pool owner’s negligence–especially if the family members were not present. A public pool operator will often tell his employees and lifeguards not to discuss the matter with anyone making getting answers impossible. But even private pool owners are told by their homeowner’s insurance company not to take to anyone about the incident after a pool accident happens.
If you find yourself in this tragic situation with unanswered questions, you need to speak to a swimming pool accident lawyer immediately. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., the initial consultation is always free and we charge no expenses or fees unless we make a recovery for you. Call (800) 298-0111 for more information.