If you or someone you love has been injured in a swimming pool in Los Angeles, you might wonder if you can sue and who the lawsuit should be filed against. Generally, personal injury claims such as these can be brought against the pool owner or the pool manager.
Swimming pools are popular home additions and are generally safe when used correctly. However, improperly used swimming pools also pose a significant danger to swimmers. Lack of safety precautions and Improper care often cause swimming pool accidents.
When it comes to swimming pools, swimmers could slip or fall on slippery decking around the pool when there are improper warning signs, or negligent supervision, such as having no lifeguard.
Lifeguards at public pools are primarily there for pool safety. Their job is to prevent swimming accidents and situations that could result in a premises liability lawsuit. Let's review this topic further below.
What are the Types of Swimming Pool Accidents?
Private or public swimming is designed for safe recreational use, but many common types of accidents can occur at a swimming pool, including the following:
- Divers could sustain catastrophic head injuries by hitting the bottom of the pool if they are allowed to jump headfirst into the shallow area of the pool;
- If there are incorrect pool depth signs, a minor could drown in a swimming pool drowning accident;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Unsafe product accidents;
- Design violations;
- Drain entrapment accidents;
- Overcrowding accidents;
- Defective diving board or slide;
- Product liability issues with flotation devices.
Physical injuries from swimming pool accidents can be severe. For instance, slips and falls might result in broken bones, torn ligaments, or a dislocated hip.
Diving without supervision might cause injuries to the spinal cord resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, paralysis, and even wrongful death. Further, swimming pool accident injuries often require extensive and ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
What are the Common Swimming Pool-Related Injuries?
Injury victims can receive compensation for their medical expenses and suffering if the swimming pool owner, property owner, or custodian is found negligent in a pool accident.
For example, neglectful or inappropriate acts by employees, lifeguards, and any property owner at a public pool might contribute to the victim's injury or swimming pool drowning. Tragically, many victims are children who deserve a higher standard of care.
There are several types of swimming pool-related injuries, which include the following:
- Slipping on the diving board;
- Breaking bones from falling into the pool;
- Scrapes from slipping and falling on the deck around the pool;
- Head trauma;
- Brain injuries;
- Lung damage;
- Spinal cord damage.
Unfortunately, many victims suffer more severe injuries, like broken necks or near drownings, that cause permanent injuries, such as traumatic brain damage.
Further, many personal injury cases related to swimming pool injuries are for wrongful death claims made on behalf of an individual who drowned in the pool.
Any catastrophic injury requires expensive professional medical care and services, which often lead to financial distress. Emergency medical services poolside by paramedics and transportation to the hospital are just the start of medical expenses that could last for years. Long-term physical rehabilitation programs are often necessary.
What's the Difference Between Private Pools and Public Pools?
When it comes to personal injuries caused by swimming pools, whether the pool is public or private is important to note, such as the following:
- Public swimming pools are usually located on public property and maintained by the local parks and recreation department;
- Private swimming pools are located on private property and maintained by the property owners.
If an injury occurred in a private swimming pool, the suit would be filed against the pool owner. The claim will also be filed against the homeowner's insurance if they have a policy covering accidents in the swimming pool.
These types of lawsuits will claim that the owner owed the pool users a duty of care to keep them safe while on their property but failed to do so.
But, if the injury occurred in a public swimming pool, the claim will be filed against a public entity. These lawsuits are a bit more complex because taxpayers fund the potential reward.
They may also be subject to a limit on the amount of compensation a victim can receive. Lawsuits for such pools are made because the injury was caused by negligent supervision of the individuals on the premises.
An example of negligent supervision would be if the lifeguards at a public pool failed to notice that a child had fallen in, and their nose and mouth were submerged underwater for a long time.
When the lifeguards finally pulled the child from the water, the child suffered severe brain damage. The swimming pool will be held liable for the child's injuries that resulted from the lifeguard's negligent supervision.
What Does California Law Say?
In California, property owners must keep their premises reasonably safe. If they do not and fail to warn others about the dangers of their premises that might not be obvious, they may be liable for the injuries the victim sustains in or near the swimming pool. Three types of visitors are entitled to safer environments:
- Invitees – people the owner has invited onto the property for the owner's financial benefit. For invitees, property owners are expected to look for dangerous conditions and make their invitees aware of them or fix them before their arrival.
- Licensees – people who have been given the express or implied consent of the owner to be on the property but are on the property for their own purposes. Owners must warn licensees of non-apparent dangers and cannot willfully cause them harm.
- Trespassers – people on the property without the owner's permission or invitation. Owners must not willfully cause harm to them.
To determine whether the premises were kept in a reasonably safe condition, the court will decide whether or not it was foreseeable that a visitor would be there.
California courts will also examine whether there was a fence around the pool, a history of people getting access to the pool, if there were locks on any gates that gave access to the pool, and whether it was an in-ground or above-ground pool.
In Los Angeles, in particular, 18 inches or deeper pools must be enclosed by a 4.5-foot fence. The fence must surround the pool and include a self-latching mechanism to remain constantly closed. So, if a swimming pool does not have these features, the owner is not only liable for the injury but also to the local government for fines or criminal charges.
Swimming Pool Lawsuits in California
Our personal injury lawyers will handle the legal issues during the recovery period. We will take all negotiations with the liable parties and their insurance providers on your behalf. Eyewitnesses and expert opinions are used to build a legal case in support of your claim against the liable parties.
An eyewitness can confirm the dangerous conditions of a swimming area or support your version of how the accident occurred. Experts can confirm the possible cost of injuries associated with the misfortune to ensure full compensation for all current and future expenses is secured.
Accidents or injuries resulting from any defective or faulty items may result in a product liability claim. There is strict product liability in California, meaning companies can be held legally liable for injuries caused by defective products.
However, you might be able to hold other parties liable, such as the product or pool designer, distributor, person, or company that performed the product installation or the property owner of the location or premises where the accident occurred (premises liability). There is a possibility that a favorable settlement cannot be obtained through negotiations.
Legal representation is covered on a contingent basis, requiring no fees for our services unless we win the case in your favor. We offer a free case evaluation. Injury Justice Law Firm has offices in Los Angeles, CA.
- Recovering Financial Compensation from Spinal Cord Injuries
- Whom Can I Sue If I'm Injured on Someone's Property?
- Do You Have a California Slip and Fall Claim?
- California Health & Safety Code 115922
- The Swimming Pool Safety Act Section 115923
- Swimming Pool Protective Devices Required
- Senate Bill 442 - Pool Safety Act