Bergeron Law Firm – Serving all of Northern VA
Pool owners, both commercial and residential homeowners, are responsible for operating, maintaining, and supervising their pool when in use, and securing it, so that it does not become a safety hazard or “attractive nuisance,” when not open or in use. Though local codes may differ, all jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia have specific requirements for zoning, building, electrical, plumbing, fencing, alarms, locks, and covers of in-ground pools, above-ground pools, and hot tubs.
Pool owner responsibilities
Public pool owners: Commercial pool owners, like country clubs, swim clubs, hotels, and water parks are responsible for the safety of their users both in and around the pool area. This includes the hiring, training, and supervising of staff and lifeguards. They are also responsible for maintaining pool drains, decking, fences, diving boards, ladders, life-saving devices, and water quality.
Private/residential pool owners: Homeowners are responsible for securing their pools from unwanted and unsupervised users. Pools should have adequate fencing with properly working gate locks to keep uninvited visitors from entering a pool that is unattended. A homeowner may be held liable for accidents even if the individual injured was a trespasser. Homeowners should never allow friends to use the pool when they are not at home and supervising, or if guests have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol.
The most common causes for swimming pool accidents and injuries include:
- Lack of pool supervision by homeowner or lifeguards
- Faulty, damaged or missing pool ladders
- Defective pool accessories (diving boards, slides)
- Defective gates, missing or broken locks
- Poor pool maintenance (electrical, plumbing, filtration system)
- Unmarked water depths
- Missing or broken emergency and safety equipment
- Pool overcrowding
- Broken glass
Common pool injuries and accidents
According to the Virginia Department of Health, drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental injury and death in the Commonwealth, and is responsible for more injuries and deaths in young children than any other cause. Even though drowning is the first thing that comes to mind when discussing pool accidents, there are many other ways that an individual may be injured at a pool.
- Slip and fall injuries around pool decks, ladders, diving boards, slides, or locker rooms
- Head and neck injuries, concussion, and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Near drowning brain damage
- Drain entrapment
- Water-borne illness and/or infection
- Chemical burns
Damages recoverable by injured victims
Swimming pool accidents may cause serious injuries or death. Individuals who survive could be partially or even permanently disabled and require life-long care. Damages include the following:
- Costs of past, current, and future medical care
- Rehab and occupational therapy
- Long-term nursing home care
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental Anguish (adverse emotions arising from the incident, injury, treatment and recovery, including effect on enjoyment of life)
- Inconvenience (adverse effects on activities of daily living)
- Lost wages and diminished future earning potential
In addition, the families of someone who dies in a drowning accident could be entitled to damages in a wrongful death action.
Hiring a personal injury attorney
As with all personal injury lawsuits, your claim must be filed within two years of the date of the swimming pool accident or injury. Personal injury cases are extremely complicated and complex. That is why it’s important to contact an attorney who has knowledge and experience handling swimming pool accident lawsuits immediately. Steve Bergeron will:
- Investigate the accident and assess the facts of the case
- Collect evidence
- Meet with qualified experts
- File claims on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- If necessary, try your case in court
Steve Bergeron will pursue your case with both diligence and compassion. He will educate your family on the law and your rights, and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.