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Your Legal Options When Your Child Is Injured in a Public Pool

Posted on August 12th, 2017 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Going to the swimming pool is one of the best parts of summer for many children. Unfortunately, it only takes one accident to see your child seriously injured or potentially dying either due to drowning or some other injury. Swimming pool injuries are quite common, and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that approximately 5,000 people a year seek treatment for injuries that occur at a pool. It is important that parents be aware of their legal rights and what options are available to them.

Filing a Lawsuit for Swimming Pool Injuries

Injuries that occur at a public swimming pool are governed by the laws of the state where the accident occurred, and each state has its own specific laws related to personal injury cases. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury, you may be able to sue the pool owner to receive compensation to cover the costs of medical bills, pain and suffering, etc. However, the fact that the laws vary from state to state means it is essential that you discuss your options with an experienced lawyer, like a personal injury or in the worst cases a wrongful death lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on,  as soon as the injury occurs.

The Statute of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations governing personal injury cases. You must file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific time period or else lose your right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. It is important to note that the statute of limitations is different for injuries that occur on government property. In this case, if the accident occurs in a city, county, or state-owned pool or facility, you may only have 90 days to file a claim instead of several years for accidents that occur on private property.

The Types of Liability Claims

The specific cause of the injury will be an important factor in determining the type of lawsuit. Generally speaking, there are three different types of liability claims that can be filed in personal injury cases, and the circumstances surrounding the accident will determine the type of lawsuit you need to file.

  1. Premises Liability Claims

Public pool owners have a legal responsibility to ensure a safe environment and are required to undertake any necessary maintenance to ensure that the property and equipment are safe and in good condition. Otherwise, any accidents that occur could open the pool owner up to a premises liability claim. For instance:

  1. An improperly repaired pool deck caused a slip and fall accident.
  2. A broken ladder caused serious cuts or a falls.
  3. Poorly maintained life-saving equipment leads to a drowning or a serious injury.
  4. Fencing and locked gates were not in place to prevent your child from entering the pool when a lifeguard was not on duty and your child was injured or drowned while using the pool.
  1. Negligent Liability Claims

Similar to premises liability claims, negligent liability claims are for situations where an injury arises out of carelessness on behalf of the pool owner or any of its employees. Common examples include:

  1. A lifeguard fails to watch the pool properly.
  2. There are no warning signs posted for potentially hazardous conditions.
  3. Failure to have proper life-saving equipment onsite.
  1. Product Liability Claims

There are also situations where an injury might not be caused by any fault of the pool owner or its employees, but rather by faulty or poorly designed products and equipment. If it is determined that your child’s accident was a direct result of a poorly designed pool or drain cover, faulty ladder, improperly designed or installed water slide or any other equipment issue, you will need to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. Unfortunately, product liability cases are often far more difficult to prove that negligence or premises liability claims, which means it is even more important that you seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

Sadly, pool injuries are all too common. No matter how many steps an owner may take to prevent injuries, there is always a chance that they will occur. However, if your child’s injury occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the pool owner, or due to a faulty product or equipment, it is essential that you understand your legal rights. A personal injury lawyer can help you file a lawsuit with the goal of receiving compensation for your child’s injury.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into personal injury practice.

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