Lifeguard on Duty? Liability for Nevada Swimming Pool Injuries
It may come as no surprise that Nevada is one of only 10 states in the country where drowning surpasses all other causes of death in children aged 14 and under. While many drownings or injuries at a swimming pool are extremely unfortunate cases of bad luck or poor swimming skills, they can also be the fault of someone else failing to meet the legally required standard of care. In fact, one of the most common factors involved in fatal swimming pool drownings is lack of, or inadequate, supervision.
Therefore, it is important to remember that if you or a loved one has been a victim of an accident at a Nevada pool, you still may be entitled to compensation, even if lifeguards were on duty when the accident occurred.
Lifeguard Safety Requirements in Nevada
According to the American Red Cross, lifeguards should be able to recognize and respond to a drowning victim within 30 seconds. Lifeguards owe a duty of care to swimmers. If a lifeguard acts below a reasonable level of ordinary care, they could be found to have acted negligently.
Where lifeguards are required, a swimming pool facility must submit a Lifeguard Staffing Plan to the Health Authority, which must be approved prior to opening. Section 4-303.2 of the Southern Nevada Health District’s Aquatic Facility Regulations, requires, among other provisions, that there is at least one lifeguard stationed for every “2000 square feet or major fraction thereof,” unless the facility can provide documentation from an independent lifeguard auditing entity supporting a reduced number of lifeguards.
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Who Can Be Held Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents in Nevada
Failing to properly position lifeguards leads to tragedy, for everyone. It is important to remember that just because lifeguards are stationed at a pool, this does not mean the pool is safe for you or your children. It is estimated that more than 100 drowning fatalities occur annually when a lifeguard is on duty.
Lifeguards are often blamed when a drowning victim is not recognized in a timely manner. For instance, lifeguards can be held liable for their failure to act. However, the lifeguards’ employer is ultimately responsible for the training, staffing, and positioning of lifeguards.
Thus, while it is certainly possible to sue the lifeguards on duty or the lifeguard’s supervisor, employers are generally responsible for their employee’s negligence. To prove a Nevada swimming pool was negligent, a victim (or the victim’s family) must prove that the water park or one of its employees (such as a lifeguard), acted below a reasonable level of ordinary care. Specifically, four elements must be proven to succeed in a negligence claim:
- The swimming pool or its employees owed the guest a duty of care,
- The swimming pool or its employees breached said duty of care,
- The breach of duty was the cause of the guest’s injuries, and
- The guest suffered injuries as a result.
Other Parties Can Be Held Accountable, Too
In swimming pool drownings, it is likely that more than one party can be held liable for the victim’s drowning. In addition to the lifeguard and depending on the circumstances, drowning victims (or victim’s families) should consider the liability of other swimmers (e.g., if another swimmer pushed the victim into the deep end of the pool) and manufacturers or providers of pool equipment (e.g., the diving board was being used properly by the victim, but was defective when it left the manufacturer’s hand).
Contact an Attorney if You or a Loved One Has Been Injured at a Nevada Swimming Pool
Even if lifeguards were present at the pool where a drowning occurred and reacted quickly, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Van Law Firm to discuss your case if you or a loved one has been a victim of drowning in Nevada swimming pools. Perhaps the swimming pool did not comply with regulations and have enough lifeguards on duty or the swimming pool’s management did not properly train or equip its lifeguards to properly respond to an emergency.
You may be liable for compensation for damages including, but not limited to medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, or wrongful death. We want to fight to get you the money you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
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