Chicago Swimming Pool Injuries Attorneys
Swimming pools can be a great way to beat the summer heat and spend a relaxing time with friends and family. Without the proper supervision and maintenance, however, swimming pools are also filled with risks. According to the CDC, an average of 283 people die each year from drowning and another 2,700 are admitted to the hospital for immersion-related injuries. These statistics indicate just one of the many possible kinds of dangers you face when in or near a swimming pool.
All too often, when swimming pool injuries occur, it stems from a problem that the owner of the pool has neglected to fix. Whether it is a lack of supervision, improper water maintenance, or deterioration in the surrounding areas, these problems indicate improper management. The Chicago swimming pool injuries attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are ready to make pool owners take responsibility for their carelessness and help you receive the compensation you need. Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer by calling us at 312-346-8620.
Common Swimming Pool Dangers
Whenever you visit a swimming pool, whether a public pool or a pool in your own backyard, there are always dangers that you must be aware of. Some dangers are increased or caused by problems in the pool environment. For this reason, pool maintenance and care is an essential part of having a pool. If pool care is neglected, it can pose a serious threat to anyone swimming or in the surrounding area. In order to better protect yourself and your family, a list of common swimming pool dangers may be found below.
- Improper pool barriers
- Lack of supervision
- Faulty products such as drain covers or pumps
- Poorly repaired area near the pool
- Loose stairs or ladders entering the pool
- Lack of signage about dangers
- Hazards such as broken glass, wood, or nails
- Improper chemical treatment
These dangers pose a threat to anyone swimming in the pool, but they are particularly dangerous for children under 15, who may not be strong swimmers or are not aware of the dangers. Although individuals may be held accountable for their own reckless actions, it is still the pool owner’s responsibility to understand the possible dangers and to eliminate them wherever possible. Read more about how property owners can be held liable.
Swimming Pool Liability in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, there are a number of laws about a property owner’s liability when swimming pool accidents happen due to negligence. One is known as the “premise liability act,” and the second is the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” Liability stems from the negligence of a homeowner or landlord who fails to do what a “reasonable person” would do under similar circumstances. The “reasonable person” knows to keep the pool in good condition and to provide security around the pool area. If the property owner fails to do these things, then they may be held liable.
Illinois has adopted what is known as “attractive nuisance doctrine.” This doctrine acknowledges the fact that children are attracted to potential dangers, such as unsupervised swimming pools. Because of their age, children may become “curious” about an otherwise dangerous situation. In addition, they likely do not have the ability to understand the danger. The law recognizes this and requires the property owner to act accordingly. The property owner, being aware that children may trespass into the pool area, is expected to take reasonable precautions to protect against the potential harm. Pool owners are expected to anticipate these possibilities and to institute safety features such as alarms, locks on surrounding gates, warning or no trespassing signs, and other safety precautions. Failure to do so is considered to be negligence.
Proving that a property owner violated these principles and caused you or your child’s injuries can be difficult, but it is possible with help. A lawyer will be able to gather the necessary evidence and use the law to demonstrate that the property owner was negligent and owes you compensation for your resulting injuries.
Injuries From Swimming Pool Accidents
Every year, drowning accounts for approximately 375,000 deaths worldwide, including approximately 3,500 fatalities in the United States. Statistics for submersion injuries, also known as nonfatal drowning events, are more difficult to obtain, but may occur several hundred times as frequently as reported drowning deaths. According to the CDC, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths, comprising 7 percent of all deaths from injury. Men are at the highest risk, as are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies, five more are treated in emergency departments for submersion injuries.
Those who survive submersion injuries may be permanently injured. While submerged, the brain is deprived oxygen. It is only a matter of minutes before the brain suffers permanent damage from oxygen deprivation. As a result, nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
There are certain predictors in determining those who will be most affected by neurologic injuries after a submersion injury. The major determinants of neurologic outcome are the duration of loss of consciousness and the neurologic state of the patient upon rescue.
There may also be accompanying lung injuries. Chlorinated water that comes into contact with the lung’s lining may produce permanent lung injury.
Data relating to survival following a submersion injury is limited by available case series. The following factors have been associated with the poorest outcome:
- Duration of submersion >5 minutes (most critical factor)
- Time to effective basic life support >10 minutes
- Resuscitation duration >25 minutes
- Age <14 years
- Glasgow coma scale <5 (e.g., comatose)
- Persistent in the requirement for cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the emergency department
For these and other reasons, an experienced submersion injuries lawyer is necessary.
Drowning is preventable in most cases. As an example, using fences and gates around swimming pools can protect most children under the age of four and potentially decrease swimming pool drowning by 80 percent. Physicians and public health authorities stress the importance of adequate adult supervision, swimming with a partner, using personal flotation devices when necessary, and avoiding alcohol or drugs when near water. Parents must also be warned that toddlers can drown in shallow areas, including fountains, if not adequately supervised. It is worth noting that most accidental drownings occur when the pool is not being actively used.
All too often, however, death and disability due to swimming pool accidents are due to negligence on the part of the property owner. The bottom line is that the property owner bears responsibility for securing a safe pool and surrounding area. This is particularly important when no one is around. The owner must take measures to prevent unsupervised children from gaining access to the pool.
Contact a Chicago Swimming Pool Injuries Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligent or careless swimming pool care, you have the right to fight back. You should not have to suffer under the financial burden of hospital bills and other expenses because of this injury. A Chicago swimming pool injuries lawyer at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC understand the multitude of dangers that swimming pools pose, and they are prepared to help you build your case. In order to discuss the specifics of your injury, contact us at 312-346-8620 today.