Most parts of Texas aren’t known for mild, temperate summers. To keep cool, the swimming pools are often thick on the ground in our state. Whether it’s a public or community pool, a gym or health club, part of a school, in a hotel, or at a private home, swimming pools can be found just about everywhere. Swimming pools are enjoyed to beat the heat, to exercise, and to have a good time by just about everyone. However, like so many good things, swimming pools aren’t without dangers. It’s important not to take safety for granted around any water, whether it’s a pool, a pond, a puddle, or an ocean.
Here’s what you should know about common pool injuries, including how they happen, who may be liable when accidents happen, and how to get legal help if you’ve been hurt.
Pool Accident Statistics
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 people accidentally drown every single day in the United States, and as many as one in five are age 14 or younger. The single biggest accidental cause of death for children between the ages of one and four is drowning, and for every child who dies, five more are sent to the emergency room for non-fatal, but potentially serious, water-based injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and head, neck, or spinal cord injuries. Without immediate rescue, death by drowning can result. Even with rescue, a water-based injury can lead to:
- Partial or total paralysis
- Impaired motor skills
- Cognitive impairment
- Learning and other developmental disabilities
- Behavioral disabilities
- Problems with speech development
Many of these types of injuries can happen due to falling into a pool and being unable to swim, while unconscious from a slip-and-fall injury, or from being held underwater by the powerful suction of a pool drain that has not been properly covered to prevent body parts from becoming lodged inside the drain.
Liability in Pool Accidents
Texas law is fairly strict when it comes to private pools, and there are a number of laws designed to prevent injuries or death, particularly in young children. Pool owners are expected to follow these rules:
- Pools must be enclosed. A fence is one of the number-one safety measures to prevent small children from falling into a pool and drowning. Fences typically must be four feet or higher, capable of locking, and have latches that are out of reach of small children.
- Houses must have an alarm system. If part of the pool enclosure includes part of the house, there must be an alarm system on any doors or windows that open into the pool area.
- Above-ground pools must be able to be secured. For above-ground pools, any ladders or steps that assist in entering must be able to be either locked from use or removed and stored to prevent trespassing.
Some cities or counties may impose additional rules, so you’ll need to check with local authorities to make sure that a pool is compliant. If the pool owner does not follow these rules, he or she can be found liable for any injuries or deaths that happen as a result.
Pool owners may also be bound by a legal doctrine called “attractive nuisance” under premises liability law. Typically, trespassers are not granted legal rights on a property even if there is a hazard. But if there is a potentially dangerous condition on the property and the owner is aware that children are likely to enter the area without permission, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries to children that result—even if the child is trespassing.
Get Legal Help Today
If you were hurt or someone you love lost their life due to the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of a pool owner, you may have legal options to seek compensation. The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP are here to help you and your family protect your rights and help you start the recovery process today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals, call us by phone today, use our online contact form, or click the live chat box on this page now.