The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that more than 500 children below the age of five drown in swimming pool accidents every year. Drowning is a leading cause of fatality for children of this age group. Apart from the 500 children who drown every year, there are other children who suffer a near-drowning incident. In this kind of incident, the person may go below the water surface for more than a few seconds, but is rescued in time to avoid death.
However, just because a child survives a pool accident does not mean that he does not face any health consequences. Very often, these accidents can result in some degree of brain damage. In fact, according to statistics, as many as 20% of children who suffer a near-drowning accident in a swimming pool will suffer long-term damage. Brain damage begins to occur approximately 4 minutes after submersion, or after the child slips below the water surface. To determine your legal options after a near-drowning accident, talk to a Palm Beach premises liability attorney.
A near-drowning incident can result in a child suffering long-term disability, and brain-damage which automatically translates into lower cognitive functioning, mental impairment, and other kinds of disability. It also means medical expenses, long-term care, rehabilitation and therapy, and impaired ability to live a productive life in the future.
If your child has suffered a near-drowning incident in a swimming pool, don’t neglect filing a claim for compensation for your injuries. Speak to a Palm Beach premises liability lawyer for help filing a claim after a pool accident.
Who is Liable?
When an accident occurs in a pool, there are parties that may be liable for damages. It’s a misconception to believe that your child is only at risk of drowning in a commercial pool like a hotel pool. While many accidents do occur in commercial pools, the majority of all child drownings in the United States involve residential swimming pools.
If the accident occurs in a commercial pool, then it the owner of the pool, like the hotel owner, may be liable in a premises liability claim. Hotel owners have a responsibility to maintain their swimming pools, and ensure that they are safe for use. For instance, the hotel must provide sufficient numbers of trained lifeguards to react to an emergency. Speak to a Palm Beach swimming pool accident lawyer about filing a claim for damages.
Homeowners are also required to install pool drains in accordance with state regulations governing safety. If a homeowner fails to provide safety devices around the pool, like fencing, or fails to provide a cover for the pool when it’s not in use, then he or she may be liable for injuries caused in an accident.
Filing a premises liability after a swimming pool accident can be challenging because a pool owner may not be necessarily liable in every accident that occurs in his pool. Users of the pool are expected to exercise due caution to prevent risk to themselves. To discuss filing a premises liability claim, speak with a premises liability lawyer in Palm Beach.
Pool Safety Tips
There are some pieces of advice that apply to almost every type of situation in which you or your loved ones are around any kind of water body. This summer, keep the following don’ts in mind.
Don’t allow your children to get into any kind of water body, including your home pool without your express permission. Your children should not be entering any water body without adult supervision.
Don’t allow your children to get into a pool at a hotel resort or any other kind of commercial establishment, unless there are lifeguards stationed at the pool.
Don’t depend only on safety devices to keep your child safe in the water. The American Red Cross advises that children wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets when they’re in the water. However, it is important that parents do not rely only on these devices to keep their children safe.
Don’t be distracted when you are around the pool and supervising their children. Keep your cell phone inside the home, and avoid lounging by the pool with a book when you are in charge of small children in the water. Your child does not have to be in deep water to drown. Very often, drowning occurs in inches of water. It also occurs very silently, and without much noise. A child who is drowning does not scream or splash about. In fact, is very common to find children drowning even in crowded pools, with other children and adults around, without anyone even noticing it. In most cases, children silently slip below the surface and sink to the bottom, without anybody being aware of the fact.
Don’t leave older children in charge of younger kids in the water.
A pool barrier is erected to prevent people, usually children, from accessing a pool. A barrier however, must be erected safely, and must be effective in preventing access to your pool. If the barrier is too low, or if it has handholds that can help the child climb over the barrier, then it has failed its purpose. For maximum effectiveness, ensure that the barrier is a solid barrier that has no indentations or protrusions that can allow a child to climb up. The top of the barrier should be at least 48 inches above the ground. Do not install any handholds that will allow the child climb up the barrier. The barrier must not have more than 4 inches of clearance at the bottom. Adhering to these guidelines can help ensure that your pool is child-safe, and can help reduce the risk of an accident involving your pool.
If you or a loved one has suffered a swimming pool accident, speak to a premises liability lawyer in Palm Beach. Discuss your case with a premises liability lawyer in Palm Beach, and evaluate your chances for compensation.
Diving Safety Tips
Near- drownings are not the only type of accidents associated with pools in Florida. Diving accidents that occur when a person dives into a too-shallow pool, or hits his head on an obstruction in the water, contribute to thousands of injuries every year. These accidents are rarer compared to swimming accidents, but these injuries are much more severe because they can result in catastrophic injuries.
This summer, make sure that you avoid injuries in your local Palm Beach backyard pool. These pools tend to be smaller, and they are often not very deep, so they may not be the ideal pools for you to dive in. A pool must have a depth of at least 10 feet. It’s not just the risk of hitting the pool edge or bottom that you need to worry about, but also hitting the diving board.
Avoid diving into an above-ground pool-these are not built for diving. These are too shallow, and there is a very serious risk of diving injuries. When you’re diving into an in-ground pool, do not dive from the side. When you’re diving into the water from a diving board, dive from right at the end of the board, and not from the sides.
Injuries from a diving accident can be serious. Because the person usually hits the floor headfirst, there is a severe risk of suffering from brain damage and spinal cord injuries. A person who suffers brain damage may suffer from long-term consequences that include lower cognitive ability, poor mental functioning, lowered memory, and other forms of mental ability. A person with a spinal cord injury may suffer from varying degrees of paralysis, including paraplegia, or the lack of movement or sensation in the lower limbs, and quadriplegia, or lack of movement in all four limbs.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact a Palm Beach premises liability attorney as soon as possible.