As much as a swimming pool presents the opportunity for recreation and relaxation, it also presents a wide range of potential dangers – especially for children. This is why swimming pool owners owe certain duties to their guests.
Swimming pool owners in Virginia can be held liable if their negligent supervision, operation or maintenance of a swimming pool leads to a guest’s injury. This holds true regardless of whether the pool is run by a public or private owner.
The attorneys of Geoff McDonald & Associates are serious about protecting the rights of those injured by others’ negligence in Richmond and throughout Virginia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact us. We will review your case at no charge and help you to understand your options.
Swimming Pools, Accidents and Injuries
Certainly, we first think of the horror of a drowning death when we think of a swimming pool accident. But there are many other ways to be hurt at a pool. Common swimming pool accidents and injuries include:
- Near-drowning – The loss of oxygen from being submerged in a pool for too long can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – Many people, including children, can slip and fall on slippery pool decks or hit their heads after diving into shallow water. A blow to the head can lead to a concussion or more severe brain damage. Falls can also lead to broken bones, neck and spinal cord injuries, sprains, contusions and lacerations.
- Drain entrapment – The suction from an improperly maintained pool drain can trap small or weak swimmers, especially children. In addition to the drowning risk, drain entrapment can cause organ damage.
- Water-borne illness / infection – Pool water can easily become contaminated with harmful bacteria from swimmers or animals that enter the pool. Pool owners must treat water with appropriate chemicals that are applied in proper amounts and according to recommended schedules.
- Chemical burns – The caustic chemicals used to cleanse pool water and equipment can cause burns if they come into contact with the skin, eyes or other soft tissue. Injuries can happen if chemical supplies are not properly secured or chemicals are used inappropriately.
Responsibility for Swimming Pool Safety
Pool owners are responsible for maintaining and supervising their pools when they are in use and securing them when they are not being used. Virginia Department of Health regulations establish rules for the design, construction and operation of “tourist establishment” swimming pools and other public pools.
Public / commercial pool owners are also responsible for hiring, training and supervising lifeguards and other staff. Owners may be held liable for failing to employ proper personnel or failing to recognize and correct ongoing negligence that damages safe operations.
Pool and park owners and operators are also responsible for maintaining pool drains, diving boards, decks, ladders and fences. If neglected maintenance leads to a person’s injuries, they could be held liable.
In some cases, pool equipment is faulty from the start. The product manufacturer may be liable for injuries.
Employees of schools or other organizations might be liable for a swimming pool accident that injures a child if they were negligent in their supervision or instruction of children entrusted to their care.
Homeowners have a responsibility for properly securing their pools from unwanted or unsupervised users. Local codes differ and may have specific requirements for fences, locks, alarms and covers in addition to plumbing, building, electrical, and zoning ordinances that apply to installation of in-ground and above-ground pools and hot tubs.
Residential swimming pools are sometimes referred to as “attractive nuisances.” This is because they appeal to children who do not understand the potential for danger. Even after instructing children to stay away, a homeowner may be held liable for accidents at a swimming pool in their yard – even if the child is considered a trespasser.
Contact a Richmond Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a swimming pool accident, you may be able to seek compensation to assist you with medical costs and other losses. The lawyers of Geoff McDonald & Associates know how to investigate swimming pool accidents.
For more than 20 years, we have served injury victims and their families in Richmond and across Virginia. To learn more about how we can assist you, call or contact us online today.