With its nearly year-round nice climate, California has the ideal conditions for swimming, which is why a significant number of California backyards have swimming pools. In Los Angeles alone, there are more than 250,000 swimming pools, which you can view via a visualization provided by Fast Company. To say that pools in California are the norm is an understatement. However, despite the prevalence of swimming pools throughout the state, pool drownings are the leading cause of death among children under the age of five in California. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 15 throughout the nation. Non-fatal swimming pool-related injuries account for approximately 3,000 emergency room visits each year.
What these stats show us is that swimming pools are dangerous. Sadly, most swimming pool injuries and fatalities are preventable. Under the California Swimming Pool Safety Act, owners of swimming pools are required to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries or drownings. If an owner fails to uphold his or her duty to invitees, child trespassers, or the general public, he or she may be held accountable for the injured party’s damages. At the El Dabe Ritter Law Firm, our swimming pool accident lawyers fight on behalf of accident victims to ensure that they obtain the compensation necessary to recover from their injuries and losses in financial comfort. If your child or loved one recently suffered a swimming pool injury, contact our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers today.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Sadly, though swimming pools are often the subject of joy and fun during the warmer months, they also happen to be the cause of despair and tragedy in isolated incidents. The causes of such despair and tragedy are not uncommon, and nor are the unexpected—at least not from a legal standpoint. At the El Dabe Ritter Law Firm, we have come to recognize some of the more common causes of swimming pool accidents, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Lack of Supervision: Lack of supervision is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common cause of pool accidents and drownings. According to the CDC, it only takes a child five unsupervised minutes to get into a private pool and drown. Lack of supervision results from both lack of barriers and supervisors leaving the pool area while a child is present.
- Damaged Property: Loose tiles, unmarked depth changes, and unlevel concrete can cause slip and falls and/or young swimmers to unknowingly navigate into deeper waters.
- Defective Equipment: Missing or defective equipment can also result in swimming pool accidents. Ladders that are not properly secured, floatation devices that cannot hold air, and other damaged safety equipment may render the equipment ineffective when swimmers need it the most.
- Electricity: It is not uncommon for swimmers to use boom boxes, stereos, and other electrical devices when in or around the pool. When electrical equipment comes into contact with water, it can result in electrocution.
Who is Liable for Swimming Pool Drownings?
Per premises liability law, a property owner is liable for damages and injuries caused by a dangerous condition on his or her property that he or she knew about or should have reasonably known about. Under California law, a swimming pool is considered a “dangerous condition,” which means that swimming pool owners have the responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure that their pools are safe, and not just for use, but for anyone who happens to wander on the property. California law dictates that owners must exercise this duty for both invitees and trespassers alike.
If the owner is negligent and fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent a drowning, he or she may be held financially liable for all injuries and damages sustained. Swimming pool liability law applies to the following individuals:
- The owners of private, residential swimming pools;
- The owners of government property, such as municipal swimming pools, or community swimming pools;
- The owners of private or commercial pools used for the benefit of guest, members, or tenants; and
- Possessors or grantors of property, such as tenants or property that contain swimming pools.
Premises liability is typically based on the inadequacies in a property owner’s or tenant’s maintenance of the property which he or she rents or owns. Many of the inadequacies have to do with the shortcomings described above, including lack of supervision, damaged property, defective equipment, and dangerous products. Additional inadequacies include lack of fencing and lack of warning signs.
Damages Awarded in Swimming Pool Accident Cases
The damages awarded in a swimming pool accident case in California all depend on the outcome of the accident. In instances in which the victim survives but sustains significant or irreparable harms, damages may include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Therapy costs;
- Past and future lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
In the event that the accident victim drowns, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim, in which case they may be able to recoup the following damages:
- Past medical expenses;
- Lost wages
- Loss of support;
- Loss of consortium;
- Pain and suffering;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Expenses related to therapy and other rehabilitative services to help with bereavement.
If the accident victim was a child, the damages might look similar to the first set of damages, save for damages for past and future lost wages.
Retain the Help of Our Los Angeles Legal Firm
If your child or a loved one was involved in a drowning accident in the Los Angeles area, you may have a lot of questions regarding the victim’s future and your own. You may also wish to pursue justice for the harms caused by another person’s or entity’s negligence. At the El Dabe Ritter Law Firm, our Los Angeles drowning accidents attorneys are prepared to help you fight for the compensation you need to live a financially stable future and for an outcome that helps you feel as if you have obtained some semblance of justice. To get on your path to recovery, contact our Los Angeles law firm today.