Were You Injured in a Swimming Pool Accident?
The scorching heat of Las Vegas makes swimming one of the city’s most popular pastimes. For most of the spring and summer, tourists and locals flock to the pools of nearby resorts, casinos, and friends. Unfortunately, this inevitably leads to more safety risks and swimming pool injuries. This is especially true for young children, as about 20 percent of drowning victims are under 14 years old.
The injuries sustained in a swimming pool accident can range from scrapes and bruises all the way to brain damage, paralysis, or death. The more severe the injury is, the greater effect it will have on your overall quality of life. For that reason, it is imperative that pool accident victims find legal and medical help as quickly as possible. At Van Law Firm, our Washington swimming pool injury attorneys can help expedite your reimbursement and get you the treatment you need.
Swimming Accident Causes
There are innumerable factors that may cause a swimming pool accident, including but not limited to:
- Pool coverings: Pool and spa areas that are not properly protected or covered can become a big injury risk for home and property owners, especially if there are children around.
- Bad lighting: Any swimming area with poor visibility has an increased risk of accident.
- Safety measures: If the safety equipment (life preservers, ladders, etc.) is inadequate or not present at all, the liability risk can be massive.
- Wet surfaces: In all swimming areas, there is constantly water everywhere, which makes for slippery surfaces.
- Inadequate safety personnel: If the staff member(s) tasked with safety supervision are not sufficiently trained, it puts all swimmers at risk.
With regards to swimming pool accidents, there are many more possible injuries than just drowning, inclduding:
- Diving Board Injuries
- Swimming Pool Slide Injuries
- Slips and Falls
- Pool Toy Entrapment
- Suction Entrapment
- Pool Drain Injuries
- Chemical Irritations and Injuries
Public vs. Private Liability and Lifeguard Requirements
When hotel or casino owners admit paying customers onto their premises, they shoulder a higher expectation of care than usual, as these patrons are considered “invitees.” Legally, property owners are expected to:
- Keep sufficient, competent safety personnel on staff
- Swiftly remove any risks or dangers
- Conduct regular inspections
- Ensure all equipment is maintained correctly and operated according to code
- Actively search out any potential hazards
- Warn patrons about anything that is being fixed (signage, warnings, etc.)
- Amass any resources needed to operate pool safely
- Plan for emergency situations and conduct trainings
- Draft and develop emergency plans
A large component of all public swimming pool accidents has to do with lifeguards and whether or not they followed the correct regulations. All swimming facilities that admit unsupervised children 14 and under and have a pool surface area of 2,000 square feet or more must keep lifeguards on staff, and at least one guard must be on site whenever the pool’s capacity is at 80 percent or more. Shifts should be arranged so that no guard is on active watch duty for more than 60 straight minutes at a time.
Simply employing lifegueards does not absolve property owners from liability, as distracted or improperly trained safety personnel reverts back to the responsibility of the company. All lifeguards should always be in position to follow the 10/20 rule, meaning that they are able to recognize a problem within 10 seconds and respond to it within another 20. As such, lifeguard towers must be shaded and positioned above the pool at a height that allows guards to see the entire swimming area as well as the bottom.
There is also a safety equipment checklist that every facility must comply with, which includes:
- A neck and spine injury board with head immobilizers and straps
- A rescue throwing device approved by the Coast Guard
- A 12 to 16-foot reaching pole
- Personal protective equipment such as latex gloves, bandages, and resuscitation masks
When a swimmer is injured at a casino or hotel, the liability may fall on multiple different parties, such as the hotel itself, any outside lifeguard companies, safety equipment manufacturers, or numerous insurance companies.
Fortunately for swimmers, almost all hotels and casinos have abundant security cameras that can record video footage of any accident. However, the footage is cycled out periodically, meaning that injured swimmers should find a trusted personal injury attorney as quickly as possible so that all evidence is preserved.
When homeowners invite guests over for the purpose of swimming, they are considered “licensees”– which is slightly less of an obligation, but still an obligation nonetheless. As such, there is a responsibility to ensure that the swimming area is safe and free of potential dangers. There is also an obligation to address any potential risks that guests may encounter, such as loose railings, defective diving boards, etc.
Additionally, proper barriers or railings should be installed, primarily for childrens’ safety. Under Washington law, uncovered swimming areas are considered as “attractive nuisances,” which means that they are likely to attract children, whether intentionally or unintentionally. As part of this provision, homeowners can still be held responsible for an accident involving children, even if the child/children used the swimming pool without the homeowner’s consent.
If the homeowner in question is insured when a claim is filed, his or her insurer will take over litigation. If the plaintiff is victorious, the insurer will pay the damages up to the extent allowed by the policy of the homeowner. If the costs exceed these limits, the plaintiff may sue the homeowner individually to make up the difference.
Let us help you!
Washington Swimming Pool 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 swimming pool injury attorneys 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. With nearly 500 5-star reviews online, we have a long list of satisfied clients– will you be the next?
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