With summer temperatures soaring in Georgia there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the back yard swimming pool, if you are lucky enough to have one.
But while pools may seem to offer a welcome respite from the heat, as an experienced Marietta injury attorney, I’m also aware they can be death traps.
In late June 2012, a 15-year-old boy, drowned in a backyard swimming pool while he was visiting relatives in Radium Springs, Georgia.
The death of Jamar Ponder was a stark reminder that swimming pool accidents are more common that we may believe. It’s not clear why the teenager drowned in the pool but the condition of the pool may have been a factor. Rescuers said the water in the pool was so murky they could not see the boy at first.
In any given year there are thousands of drowning deaths in the United States. In 2004, there were 3,308 unintentional drowning deaths across the nation, an average of nine people per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About one in five of these drowning deaths occur in pools. Swimming pool injuries are also the fourth largest contributor to sports-related fatalities in the USA.
Many of these victims are children. As well as drowning deaths, spinal injuries can occur, often when children dive into pools that are too shallow. For every person who dies from drowning, another four people receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries, which include serious personal injuries such as brain and head injuries.
If your child is hurt or killed in a swimming pool you may have grounds to bring a personal injury or a wrongful death lawsuit.
In a public swimming pool, the owners of the facility can be held liable if there is inadequate lifeguard cover or lifeguards fail to perform their job properly. If there are dangerous conditions at the pool a premises liability or a slip and fall action could be brought.
A premises owner could also be held liable if the deep water was inadequately marked.
There are also a range of product liability lawsuits that can be brought over swimming pool accidents. Pool toys such as rafts and “water wings” can prove to be defective as well as diving boards and pools themselves can be of a defective or a dangerous design.
Under Georgia law, landowners and manufacturers can be held liable for injuries suffered by users in swimming pool accident. The Official Code of Georgia says manufacturers can be held strictly liable for damages if a defective pool or other product caused injuries. This means the plaintiff does not have to prove negligence on the behalf of the defendant.
Owners or the occupiers of land have a duty to maintain a pool and keep the premises around it in a reasonable state of repair. If there is a defect in construction the landowners have a duty to repair it, if they are aware of it.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in a swimming pool, call The Keener Law Firm for a free confidential consultation at 770–955‑3000.