Swimming Pool Injury Attorneys
Our pool injury attorneys have too often seen the devastation that life-long injuries have on both those who suffer them and on those who love them. When it comes to pool related accidents, the injuries are often severe and can all to easily lead to death.
Because they tend to be so severe, pool-related injuries can result in a lifetime of medical bills, loss of earning capacity and pain and suffering for the victim and their family. When a pool injury results in a death, not only is there loss of earning capacity and often substantial medical bills that accumulate trying to save their life, but there is also the heavy emotional toll that losing a loved one takes on the family. Our attorneys have won among the largest swimming pool drowning lawsuits in the country.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a swimming pool accident, it is important to talk to an experienced swimming pool accident lawyer immediately to discuss your legal right to compensation. Because evidence can get lost and you have a limited time to file a lawsuit after an injury happens, you should take action quickly.
Contact Pritzker Hageman’s Swimming Pool Injury Lawyers Today
Phone: 888-377-8900 | Text: 612-261-0856
Can I sue for a swimming pool drowning injury or wrongful death?
There are many situations in which a pool owner or manufacturer may be liable for pool-related injuries and you would be able to file a pool drowning lawsuit. Generally, these claims fall into two categories: product defect claims and premises liability claims.
Defective product claims
In certain swimming pool accident claims, the cause may be due to a product defect. In these cases, the negligence of the pool owner or operator is not a primary factor in whether you can sue. If a product (in this case the pool or equipment used in and around the pool is the product) is manufactured or installed in a defective way then fault can be legally found even without a finding of negligence. If a swimming pool accident or drowning is due to an error in product design or construction, then the pool manufacturer (or the manufacturer of a component part), wholesaler, retail store that sold the pool to the customer, and assemblers or installers may all be included in the lawsuit. Courts have found the following conditions to be a product defect:
- Lack of depth markers
- Lack of warning signs
- Pool liners that create an optical illusion of depth
- “Hopper bottom” design
- Improper barriers around the pool
- Improper lighting
While this list is not intended to be complete, it is an indication of the type of product defects that have been identified in swimming pools.
Premises liability claims
If a pool-related accident or death occurs on another person’s property, public area or commercial business space (such as a hotel, apartment, water park or school) you may be able to file a “premises liability” lawsuit. To prove a premises liability claim, it must be shown that a pool owner was negligent in their duty and knowingly allowed a danger to exist or failed to warn people using the pool about a danger. While owners are not legally required to warn visitors about obvious dangers, such as wet areas around the pool, they are required to warn visitors about less obvious dangers. Some examples of pool owner negligence that may support a premises liability case include:
- Failure to warn that the pool was very shallow or about other defects or dangerous conditions
- Failure to post or display warning signs or cautionary instructions
- Inadequate warning signs displayed by pool owner
- Failure to control and supervise pool users with regard to diving
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Improper maintenance, creating dangerous conditions
If it can be proven that the owner was negligent in their duty, the victim may hold them financially responsible for their injuries.
Accidental swimming pool drowning in Minnesota
Few summer activities provide the same level of enjoyment as jumping into a swimming pool. But with enjoyment comes a risk of danger that can go up or down depending on the actions taken by those responsible for maintaining the safety of the pool.
In Minnesota, nearly 40 people die each year from accidental drowning, with many of these incidents occurring in swimming pools. Unfortunately, most swimming pool accidents are caused by negligent property owners who fail to meet safety standards. If the owner’s maintenance practices fall below the proper standards, they may be liable for the victim’s damages. According to the CDC, for each child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Pool drownings are a nationwide problem
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 2005-2014, an average of 3,536 people drowned each year in the United States—which is about ten deaths per day. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Unfortunately, these grim statistics only tell part of the story. According to the CDC, for each child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. But where do these accidents occur? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 72 percent of fatal drowning incidents involving children younger than 15 occurred in residential settings, such as the victim’s home, a family or friend’s house, or a neighbor’s residence, with 21 percent of fatal drowning incidents occurring at public swimming pools.
Swimming pool legal regulations and hazards
While swimming pools are generally of two types—above-ground or in-ground—industry standards divide pools into three categories: above-ground pools; in-ground public pools; and in-ground residential pools. Each category is subject to its own set of regulations, and associated hazards.
These pools are generally the less expensive type, often coming in a “kit” which the homeowner assembles in their backyard. Because they generally do not involve the excavation of dirt, they can usually be set up quickly and inexpensively. There are, however, obvious limitations of depth. A typical above-ground pool will be between 3 and 4 feet deep, which is entirely unsafe for diving. For this reason, industry standards require “no diving” signs on all above-ground pools, which must comply with specific requirements about font size, color and proper words. Additionally, manufacturers of pool liners, pool structures, walls and ladders are required to provide such signs, along with adequate instructions for installation. Typically, these signs are enclosed with the pool “kit” rather than affixed in the factory, so that they may be installed where they will be most visible after installation of the pool and any deck or fencing. In practice, installers and/or consumers often neglect or refuse to post the signs, meaning signage is often not present at the time of the dive.
These pools are the more expensive pools whose surface is essentially level with the surrounding landscape. They require an extensive amount of excavation and preparation of the hole into which the pool will be placed. The two most common types of in-ground pools are concrete and vinyl liner pools. In a concrete pool, the sides of the pool are lined with concrete after the hole has been excavated and the area contoured to the final dimensions. In vinyl liner pools, a vinyl liner is placed over the excavated hole to contain the water. Vinyl liner pools are particularly common in Minnesota because they adjust well to cold weather and cost less than a concrete liner.
In-ground public pool regulations
In Minnesota, public pools are required to comply with the Minnesota Pool Code (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4717). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and local regulatory agencies are responsible for enforcing the Minnesota Pool Code. Some of the safety requirements of the Minnesota Pool Code include:
- Pools must be constructed in accordance with appropriate construction standards
- Pools must be operated and maintained by properly trained personnel
- Operation and maintenance recordkeeping and reporting is required
- Lifesaving equipment and signage is required
- Access to pools must be controlled to prevent unintended access.
In addition, local authorities (such as Hennepin County or the City of Minneapolis) have further requirements for pool construction, inspection and operation, which pool operators must follow.
In-ground residential pool regulations
Minnesota, like many other states, imposes far fewer requirements on residential pool owners, despite the fact that nearly three quarters of all drownings involving children under the age of 15 occurred in residential swimming pools. More often, though, residential pools are regulated by local city or county authorities.
Common swimming pool injuries
While there are many different types of injuries that can occur in a pool environment, some of the most alarming pool-based injuries involving negligence include:
- Spinal injuries from diving into unexpectedly shallow pools
- Drowning due to inadequate supervision or improper barriers
- Entrapment in pool equipment or water circulation returns and drains due to lack of anti-entrapment devices
- Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) due to faulty or improperly maintained electrical equipment
Contact our experienced swimming pool injury and drowning lawyers today
Call us at 888-377-8900 or contact us online below