Every time warm weather comes around, people around the country flock to both public and residential swimming pools to beat the heat with some fun by the water. Unfortunately, an uptick in pool traffic almost always translates to an increase in swimming pool drownings and near drownings. Young children are especially susceptible: one in five drowning victims is younger than 14.
As a result, injured swimmers and their families may want to retain qualified swimming pool drowning attorneys to preserve any pertinent evidence and maximize their potential compensation. At Van Law Firm, we specialize in doing just that. Call our office nearest you now to get started with a Washington pool drowning lawyer.
Compensation in a Washington Pool Drowning Accident
Water-related injuries such as drowning and near-drownings only take moments to develop, but they often cause permanent complications such as paralysis and traumatic brain injury (TBI). You may even face the loss of a loved one due to such an accident. Our attorneys at Van Law Firm want to help ensure that you get the justice and compensation your family deserves to heal and recover.
The compensation available in these cases can vary depending on whether an accident involved a drowning or near-drowning. A case of near-drowning is no different than any other personal injury lawsuit. If successful, it could be possible to recover:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
There are also damages that are unique to wrongful death cases. If your loved one passes away due to a pool drowning accident, other damages that might be available include:
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of services or assistance
- Loss of companionship
One of our pool drowning attorneys can gather evidence of your losses and be your voice in a legal case.
For a free legal consultation with a drowning lawyer serving Washington, call (725) 900-9000
Frequent Causes of Drownings and Other Swimming Pool Accidents
After years of litigating swimming pool cases, we’ve learned that it really does not take much to cause a serious drowning incident or another water-related injury. Here are some of the most common risk factors:
Uncovered or Unsecured Swimming Areas
Pools and spas that are not properly secured or covered are an injury risk for patrons and a liability risk for property owners. Some states enforce “attractive nuisance” laws, where owners can still be held liable for young children who enter unsecured areas without permission.
Poor visibility is never a good thing when it comes to safety. If swimmers do not know exactly where they are in and around the pool, the chances of drowning are increased significantly.
Insufficient Safety Measures
Every pool must have the proper safety equipment on hand, including individual devices such as life floats and built-in features like ladders and guard rails. This includes not only features that prevent pool accidents but also safety equipment that is necessary in the case of an emergency.
There’s a reason why the best lifeguards are the ones constantly telling you not to run. That is because a large number of drownings happen after a swimmer has slipped outside the pool and then fallen in.
Inadequate Lifeguards/Safety Staff
Conversely, the worst lifeguards are the ones who don’t say anything or are not present at all. Lifeguards are often the only safety measure in place, so they had better be up to par.
Washington Drowning Lawyer Near Me (725) 900-9000
Differences in Liability and Safety Requirements for Public and Private Pools
Negligent property owners and opposing insurers love to pull these claims apart in hopes of paying less or nothing at all in some cases. However, both private and public pool owners may bear liability in a pool drawing case.
The liability and safety requirements for pools that are open to the public differ from those that apply to private pools, however. The Washington State Department of Health outlines these important requirements. Knowing the differences in these rules can be key to your case’s success—and our attorneys understand these nuances.
Patrons of a business where a pool is present, such as a hotel, are considered “invitees.” That means that legally, they are owed the highest level of care because they are paying customers. As such, property owners must:
- Operate pool equipment and systems in accordance with safety codes
- Keep an appropriate amount of safety, security, and maintenance staff on hand
- Hold regular inspections
- Address potential hazards and remedy them immediately
- Notify patrons of hazards that are being fixed (like signage or barriers)
- Be proactive in training for emergency situations and develop protocols
- Actively acquire any resources needed
As mentioned above, lifeguards are a huge aspect of all swimming pool accidents, including drownings. If a pool’s surface area is larger than 2,000 square feet or if unsupervised children under 14 can be admitted, at least one guard must be on staff. Furthermore, if there are enough swimmers present to fill 80 percent or more of the pool’s maximum capacity, at least one guard must be on hand, ready to assist. For high-traffic pools, guards must be rotated so that no one is on active watch for longer than an hour at a time.
Owners will not be absolved from all liability just because there were guards on site. Any distraction or delay in administering aid is likely to be deadly, and so all guards are expected to adhere to the “10/20 rule,” which asserts that a problem should be identified within 10 seconds, and the guard should be able to reach the victim within 20 seconds after that. Chairs or stands must be high enough to view the entire bottom and surface of the pool.
Additionally, all facilities must keep the following equipment on hand:
- A 12- to 16-foot pole used to extract victims
- A Coast Guard-approved throwing device
- A spinal injury board or stretcher with head and neckties
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as sterile gloves and resuscitation masks
Determining the party at fault for a drowning accident can be tricky, as the defendant could be the property owner, the lifeguard staffing company, insurers, and even product manufacturers.
Luckily for accident victims, almost all public venues have ample security cameras and footage, which can be vital in determining fault. Keep in mind, however, that this footage doesn’t last long, so it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney so that all pertinent evidence is preserved.
If a homeowner has invited guests over with the direct or implied intention of swimming, they, too, must ensure that their property is reasonably safe (although the level of expectation is not quite as high as for paying customers). They must also notify all guests of potential hazards before they encounter them.
In some ways, proper barriers and security are more important for residential pool owners than public, as they are more likely to find themselves in an “attractive nuisance” situation. As previously stated, these laws hold pool owners accountable for accidents involving young children. If an injured swimmer files suit against a homeowner who is insured, the insurer will handle most of the litigation. The homeowner’s policy will cover the swimmer’s damages, but if they exceed the policy limits, the plaintiff may sue for the difference.
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Our Attorneys Can Help You After these Common Pool Injuries
With regards to swimming pool accidents, there are many more possible injuries than just drowning, including:
- Diving board injuries
- Swimming pool slide injuries
- Slips and falls
- Pool toy entrapment
- Suction entrapment
- Pool drain injuries
- Chemical irritations and injuries
Our lawyers can help you hold the responsible party accountable and fight for compensation in these situations, too.
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Washington Swimming Pool Drowning Injury Attorneys
If you were injured in a swimming pool accident as a result of the negligence of a home or property owner, contact the Washington pool drowning lawyers at Van Law Firm today to see what your case may be worth with a free and confidential consultation. We can help you recover several forms of compensation, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical reimbursement.
Contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.
No obligation consultations are always free.Let Us Help You! Call Now: (725) 900-9000
These guys are amazing. Helped me throughout the process. Always there when I need help. Inititailly called a law firm (the one that has lots of ads on the radio), but they declined my case. Van Law Firm accepted my case without a second thought! Kudos to Daniel, my case manager, and Amanda who expedited my payment process. Highly recommended.Milby Mags
Got in an accident at the beginning of the year and they have been awesome, especially with it being my first accident and me being like this. They have been very communicated, stayed in contact with me the whole time, giving me updates when there were any and even when there weren’t and answered any question I had. I would recommend them to anyone. Everyone I have talked to there has been very friendly. I would give them a 10 out of 10.Ethan Gullet
They made sure that my insurance company covered what I paid for them to which included the gap for my car that was totaled. My medical costs were taken care of and reduced substantially so I was able to get more on my settlement. My case manager, Will Garcia, was always helpful in assisting me and answering any questions I had. They really did an amazing job with my case. I would definitely recommend them to anyone in need of this type of legal help. Most lawyers do not help you with the recovery of the car and rental etc. They are amazing.Teresa Cuthbertson