With summer just around the corner, many North Carolina residents are ready for warm days spent relaxing by the pool. For kids, a day at the pool is a highlight of summer vacation, and something to look forward to during the chill of winter. Staying safe while at the pool is something that everyone should think about, whether they are a parent, the host of a pool party, a lifeguard, the owner of a pool or just an adult who is ready to dive in and have a great day swimming. Without proper safety measures, a day at the pool can turn into a tragedy.
How Common are Pool Accidents?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of 1-4, and the second leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of 5-14. In 2013, a reported 355 children lost their lives due to drowning accidents in pools and spas. Between 2013 and 2015, approximately 5,600 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency rooms each year for non-fatal drowning. Many more accidents occur in which older adolescents and adults were injured or killed. Clearly, improvements can be made in the area of pool safety awareness and implementation.
How Does Premise Liability Relate to Pools?
Owners of pools, whether private or commercial, assume a wide range of responsibilities when they allow others to make use of the pool. Those responsibilities include maintaining a safe environment for swimmers and other guests. That includes ensuring that pool equipment is functioning properly, that the water is kept clear and free of debris, and that there is adequate signage, supervision and safety fencing. In settings where a lifeguard is in place, those employees must be properly trained and supervised. Even Greenville homeowners who have a pool must ensure that the highest standards of safety are met at all times. When unsafe conditions are allowed and an accident takes place due to negligence, the owner of the pool can face serious premises liability repercussions, up to and including a wrongful death suit.
What Can Individuals do to Increase Pool Safety?
When visiting a pool, the single most important thing that individuals can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience is to take on responsibility for their own safety, and that of their children. This means checking the pool and surrounding area for issues that could cause a problem. Examples include leaves on the surface and the bottom of the pool (which can make it hard to see a swimmer who is struggling.) Or witnessing teenage lifeguards who are not paying proper attention to swimmers. Above all else, parents must pay close attention to children when there is a pool nearby, even if the pool is not being used or when there seems to be adequate fencing or a pool cover in place.
Premise liability is an avenue of legal recourse that can help families who have suffered a loss, but it is a reactive measure, not a proactive approach. While the threat of a lawsuit may prompt some pool owners to increase their safety efforts, it will not prevent all pool accidents from taking place. Individuals must be vigilant while visiting any location where a pool is present. Pools are among the most enjoyable elements of an American summer, and when safety precautions are taken, a day at the pool can be a welcome relief from the heat of a North Carolina summer day.
I’m Brian Ricci, a Greenville wrongful death lawyer focusing on swimming pool accidents and swimming pool drownings. I’d be more than happy to talk with you and help you achieve a settlement. There is no fee to talk; call me anytime at (252) 777-2222 or (888) 484-6881. Our office works on a contingency fee agreement which means that you don’t pay unless we win your case.
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