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Liability for injury and death from swimming-pool incidents

Kentucky in the summer is undeniably hot and humid for residents and visitors. Of course, jumping in the pool is a naturally refreshing remedy. Unfortunately, people of all ages are injured or die from accidents in private, commercial and public pools for many reasons.

Causes of pool injuries

Pool injuries can happen for many reasons, including:

  • Slippery, wet surfaces surrounding pools
  • Inadequate supervision of children and others while swimming
  • Failure to provide lifeguards when appropriate or required
  • Inadequate staffing of lifeguards and safety personnel
  • Irresponsible alcohol or drug use
  • Negligent lifeguarding practices
  • Inadequate training of employees charged with pool maintenance and oversight
  • Insufficient maintenance of safe water quality
  • Failure to repair broken pool equipment
  • Lack of adequate fencing or gating to keep children out of unsupervised pools
  • Unsafe diving-board design or maintenance
  • Diving-board placement near water not deep enough for safe diving
  • Dangerously maintained or designed drains and drain covers
  • Lack of barriers or markers between shallow and deep water
  • Incorrect use of water chemicals
  • And others

White Peck Carrington, LLP successfully represented a client in a swimming pool incident case which resulted in a confidential settlement.  This client suffered from traumatic brain injury as a result of the incident.

    Children at particular risk

    For example, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC reports that for children under five there are an average of about 280 fatalities from drowning and 2,700 emergency room visits with "submersion injuries" annually from pool or spa use.

    Kentuckians may remember the tragic drowning in 2014 of a small child at a birthday pool party in a Louisville hotel. In January, a jury awarded his family $3.1 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. According to WDRB.com, the jury found the hotel and its management company liable because of alleged negligence and a "defective pool." (As of this writing, it is unclear whether the defendants appealed.)

    Legal remedies

    At our firm, we regularly represent the victims of pool injuries in lawsuits for negligence, premises liability and wrongful death when those who own or control swimming pools and the surrounding areas fail to provide reasonable conditions for a safe swimming experience. Manufacturers, sellers, installers and maintenance companies may also be liable when pool equipment is dangerously or defectively made, incorrectly installed or negligently maintained.

    It is important to consult experienced legal counsel about pool injuries. Such cases can be legally complex, especially when the pool involved is owned or operated by a public entity like a city.

    An attorney involved in a pool-injury case will launch a vigorous investigation into the circumstances on behalf of the injured party or family of a deceased victim. The lawyer will assess whether there is evidence of negligence or recklessness, dangerous or defective design of equipment, improper maintenance of the pool and its surrounding areas, dangerous conditions on the premises or other evidence of wrongdoing that could have caused the harm.

    Counsel will also consider whether federal, state and local pool safety and consumer protection laws as well as building and construction codes and standards were properly followed in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the pool in question. Evidence that laws or standards were violated would be important in a lawsuit for resulting injury.

    As summer approaches, take care to stay safe in and around pools, but if you or a family member is injured, seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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    White Peck Carrington | 26 Broadway | P.O. Box 950 | Mount Sterling, Kentucky 40353-0950 | 859-274-4115 | Fax: 859-498-7363 | Map & Directions