A beautiful summer day at a swimming pool can turn tragic in the event of an accident. Both private and public swimming pools present risks for catastrophic injury, drowning and death. If you or a loved one has been injured and want to learn more about filing a swimming pool accident claim or lawsuit, the personal injury attorneys at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, can answer your questions and discuss your specific case.
Who is Most at Risk for Swimming Pool Accidents?
According to the CDC, children, particularly very young children are most at risk for unintentional drowning. In fact, drawing causes more deaths for children aged 1-4 than any other cause besides birth defects. Far more males drown than females, as 80% of drowning victims are male. Regardless of age or gender, a lack of swimming ability is one of the key risk factors for drownings.
But swimming pool accidents also cause injuries at almost five times the rate of accidental drowning. The result of a near-drowning incident are often life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injury or severe lung infections. These catastrophic injuries will require intensive rehabilitation and in many cases, lifelong medical care.
For swimming pool accident victims and their loved ones, they must cope with physical recovery, endure mental and emotional distress as well as worry over the financial cost of the medical treatment. While no amount of money can change the accident’s outcome, victims and their families often have questions about lawsuits and wrongful death claims.
Liability at a Public Pool
Swimming pool accidents usually fall into an area of injury law called premises liability. Under New Jersey law, commercial property owners and operators have the highest level of “duty of care” owed to customers or invitees to their property. In other words, property owners must maintain a very high standard of safety around a pool including adequate warning about hidden dangers such as shallow water, provide adequate emergency equipment and repair any broken equipment. If the business or property owner failed in their duty of care, it may be possible to file a lawsuit or wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
Liability at Private Pools
Similar to commercial property owners, private homeowners also owe a certain duty of care to those on their property, assuming they have been invited by the homeowner. In this case, the homeowner should be abiding by any state or local ordinances regarding pool safety, such as a fence gate and alarm around the pool. The homeowner should also warn guests of any dangers and adequately supervise the guests and pool area. If the owner of the pool is negligent in their duty of care, the victim (or family in the case of death) can file a claim against the private homeowner, renter or other person who may have been responsible that day.
The main exception to private homeowner liability is the case of a trespasser. If someone is on the property, uninvited, they are considered a trespasser. The only obligation the homeowner has to the trespasser is not to create a dangerous situation. If the trespasser is a child, however, the homeowner could be liable if they did not have an adequate barrier around the pool.
How Does a Lawsuit Work After a Swimming Pool Accident?
If you or a family member was injured in a swimming pool accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should first discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. Their expertise and experience is a great benefit when going through the legal claim process. In cases of serious injury or death, a personal injury lawyer will gather evidence and bring in experts who will build a case to provide liability and the extent of your injuries.
If successful, compensation in a lawsuit after a swimming pool accident could include medical expenses, lost income, as well as pain and suffering. If the medical prognosis includes long term treatment, compensation should account for the entire course of the injury. This is why it can be so important to wait until the full medical outcome is known so that you have an understanding of the full cost of the injuries.
In the event of a fatal accident, survivors can file a wrongful death claim against the liable parties. Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey may include:
- Hospital and medical expenses related to accident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income and loss of deceased person’s expected lifetime income
- Lost health and insurance benefits
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance
Brandon J. Broderick, Compassionate and Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
If you’re dealing with the devastating consequences of a swimming pool accident, we can help. Our compassionate, experienced personal injury attorneys are focused on exceptional client care and aggressive litigation of your claim. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Many of our clients experience a sense of relief once they make that first phone call.