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Although drowning cases are among the most tragic accidents that happen during summer, hazards in and around pools create the potential for a variety of other accidents. Pool accidents can cause injuries that range from relatively mild to severe. When a day of fun and play turns to tragedy, turn to a compassionate personal injury lawyer like The Ellsley Law Firm. We'll work tirelessly to help you ensure justice prevails.
What causes pool accidents?Factors that cause pool accidents include:
- slippery walking surfaces
- chemical exposure
- lack of proper pool lighting
- broken safety latch
- overcrowded pools
- improperly-trained lifeguards
- ambiguous water depth labels
- slip and fall pool accidents
Slip and fall accidents are common around swimming pools. Common hazards that call poolside slip and fall accidents are:
- unsecured hoses
- slippery floor surfaces
- pool maintenance tools left on the floor
- spilled sunblock or other slippery oils and lotions
A property owner or business may be liable if a visitor slips and falls and becomes injured due to the property owner or manager's negligence. Public pool facilities are responsible for training their staff members to readily spot and clean up slip and fall hazards to prevent poolside injuries.
Chemical exposure at Plantation swimming pools
Chlorine is the most commonly used chemical in pool maintenance. The addition of chlorine inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that would otherwise proliferate in a large artificial body of standing water, like a pool. Too much chlorine can cause illness. Chemicals cause injury when they are not used properly or when they are not stored properly. Potential effects of pool chemical exposure are:
- respiratory irritation
- eye damage
- skin damage
Injuries from chemical exposure can be mild or severe, depending on the level of exposure. According to the CDC, more than one in ten swimming pools inspected last year contained incorrect chemical levels.
Lack of proper pool lighting
Florida does not regulate the number of hours a pool can be open for swimming. However, pools are not allowed to be open at night unless both the pool deck and the pool are equipped with lights to provide adequate visibility to those who are swimming. The state must inspect the lighting prior to the pool extending its open hours beyond dusk or to include early morning hours before sunrise.
Electric shock and electrocution accidents have been an issue since the introduction of pool lights and pool pumps. Underwater lights must have bulbs that are rated at 12 watts or less to reduce the risk of electrocution. Low-voltage lights are believed to reduce the risk of death in the event of electric shock. However, low-voltage lights still can cause injury. Improperly installed lights are especially dangerous.
Broken Safety latches contribute to accidents
Swimming pools fall under the doctrine of "attractive nuisance." The doctrine is based on the idea that the average child is unable to appreciate hazards the way adults can. Therefore, children view attractive nuisance as a fun amenity instead of a potentially dangerous place to play. Based on this principle, Florida's pool safety laws require outdoor pools to be enclosed by a wall or fence that is at least four feet tall to keep children away from the pool. The bottom of the enclosure can be raised no more than four inches off the ground. The enclosure must be located sufficiently far enough away from the edge of the pool to prevent a child who manages to gain access from immediately falling into the pool.
All doors that grant direct access to the pool must be equipped with a self-lacking and self-locking device. A missing or broken safety latch may allow a child unauthorized, unsupervised access to the pool. If the child drowns or otherwise sustains an injury as a result of entering the pool area, the property manager is likely liable.
Overcrowding as a cause in pool accidents
Lifeguards and pool staff are responsible for making sure a pool's occupancy does not exceed the legal limit. In overcrowded pools, there is an increased risk of drowning and near-drowning accidents occurring. Parents, lifeguards, and other responsible adults have more difficulty keeping an eye on children who swim in a pool that is overcrowded. The number of people in the pool can make it physically impossible for parents and lifeguards to keep all children in the pool within their sight. Children are also more likely to become injured by colliding with another swimmer if pool conditions are too crowded.
Improperly trained lifeguard
Not all pool facilities are required to have a lifeguard. However, those that do employ one or more lifeguards are required by state law to verify their lifeguards' training. Florida's pool safety laws require anyone who works as a lifeguard to be certified by the American Red Cross, the YMCA or another nationally recognized aquatics training program. Drowning and near-drowning accident victims may file a claim against the entity that operates the pool facility if the entity employs lifeguards who are not certified by a nationally-recognized program.
Unmarked depth changes
When one portion of a swimming pool is of a different depth than another, signs help swimmers avoid accidents. Unmarked shallow parts of a pool create a diving hazard. Deeper areas in the pool may be dangerous for children or people who only intend to wade in a pool. If a pool completely lacks depth signs or if the signs are unclear, the pool owner may be liable in the event of an accident, like a dive into shallow water..
Injury lawyer for pool accident cases
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pool accident in Plantation personal injury lawyers at The Ellsley Law Firm are available to help. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident, identify parties that may be liable and file any necessary legal claims on your behalf. Your pool accident attorney will handle all negotiations with insurance companies and represent you in pre-trial and court proceedings.
We represent Florida pool accident victims and their families. Contact us today to receive a free case evaluation.