Swimming pools can be dangerous places, particularly for children. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident in or near a swimming pool, a New York injury attorney at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC may be able to help you. As swimming accident attorneys we understand how to handle cases involving swimming pool drownings, near drownings as well as other accidents that involve swimming, rafting, canoeing, paddle boarding. We work with all types of injurys surrounding swimming injuries.
Nearly 10 people die every day in the United States as the result of unintentional drowning, making it the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. When a swimming accident does not result in drowning—and therefore death—other injury types may occur. Near drowning can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), respiratory distress, hypothermia, damages to internal organs, and more.
Some of the types of swimming pool accident cases we can handle are:
- Pool accidents (at residential and commercial properties)
- Beach accidents
- Water park accidents
- Hotel pool accidents
- Apartment swimming pool accidents
- Summer camp accidents
- Life guard negligence
- Pool operator negligence or wrongdoing
- Boating accidents
- Spa, Jacuzzi and hot tub injury
- Swimming pool drain accidents
- Accidents involving defective pool gates or fences
- Cruise ship swimming pool accidents and drownings
A swimming pool accident, from slipping at a pool’s edge to near-drowning, can cause serious injuries. A victim may suffer from broken bones, severe sprains or even spinal cord damage from a slip and fall accident at a pool or water park. If a victim falls into the water and cannot swim or is caught under a pool cover or in a drain, the victim may drown. Even if the victim survives, he or she may suffer from permanent brain damage as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain. The severity of pool accidents makes involving an attorney essential.
Who Is Most At-risk?
Tragically, those who are most at-risk of being in a swimming accident, drowning, and nearly drowning are those children ages one through four. However, 20 percent of drowning accidents involve children under the age of 14. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every child who dies from drowning, another five require emergency room care for non-fatal submersion injuries. Losing a child in a swimming accident is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a parent. If the accident would not have occurred but for the negligent actions of a property owner, then a victim—or parent or family member of a deceased victim—may file a civil action directly against the at-fault party.
Causes of Swimming Accidents
Most swimming accidents are entirely preventable. The majority of swimming accidents occur as a result of:
- Inability of the victim to swim;
- Lack of barriers blocking access to pools, ponds, or other areas of water;
- Lack of adult supervision;
- Use of alcohol;
- Lack of life jacket use; and
- Unsafe property conditions (leading to a slip or fall into a pool).
While a swimming accident may be unintentional, if the accident was caused because of another party’s negligent action—like failing to maintain a property in a safe condition or fence a pool—then that party may be held liable for all damages.
Pool Accidents: Determining Cause & Liability
When a swimming pool accident occurs, it will be necessary to determine what caused the accident and therefore who may be held legally responsible. A thorough investigation, including a review of all physical evidence, witness accounts, police reports (if any) and more can help our attorneys and investigators understand what occurred. We will then work to paint a clear picture of what factors caused the incident so we can build a compelling case against the at-fault party.
Liability may lie with a property owner or pool operator for failing to provide a safe environment at a pool. It may also lie with the manufacturer of a pool drain, fence or gate that is poorly designed or malfunctions due to a manufacturing defect. Because every case is different, our team works diligently to ascertain what caused a client’s injuries or loss and to then prove this in negotiations or litigation.
Public Pools vs. Pools on Private Property
Your accident may have occurred at a public pool or at a private home. If it occurred at any type of public place, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA) may apply. This federal law requires public pools to maintain certain safety standards when it comes to drains and drainage systems, to prevent drain entrapment and drowning. Owners and operators of public pools may be held to a higher standard of liability when it comes to accidents at their pools, including proper fencing and lifeguards.
If the accident occurred on private property, such as your own home or the home of a friend or family member, there may be various issues to take into account when it comes to liability for the accident. You may have properly fenced your pool, for example, but if the fence was defective or was not properly installed and a drowning or near-drowning occurred as a result, the company that manufactured and/or installed the fence may be accountable. Our attorneys will look at all possible options to see may apply in your case.
Filing a Claim for Damages
At Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, our attorneys can help you to prove negligence and recover the full extent of damages that you are entitled to. Our lawyers understand the pain and trauma that you are going through – reach out to us today for an advocate you can trust. For more information, contact a New York personal injury lawyer.