Omaha Swimming Pool Injury Lawyer
Few things are better than going for a swim on a warm summer day, which makes swimming pools a popular destination for children and adults alike in Omaha. Swimming pools, however, can be extremely dangerous.
Premises Liability Services
Children are in the most danger. Even playing in an inflatable "kiddie pool" can lead to serious injuries; and being under the watchful eye of a parent, caregiver, or lifeguard, while important, cannot prevent all tragedies. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, and an average of ten people drown every day—two of them under 14 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that for every child who drowns, another five are treated in the ER for submersion injuries. In fact, children from 1-4 are more likely to die from drowning than any other cause except birth defects.
Sometimes, swimming pool accidents may have been prevented if proper steps had been taken to keep pool-goers safer. When this is the case, the injured party may be able to file a claim against the pool’s owner or supervisor.
Nebraska’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Children are afforded special legal protections when it comes to swimming pools. Because children do not have the maturity to know or judge the inherent dangers of a swimming pool, they are largely held blameless for swimming pool accidents. Children are not considered trespassers, because they are expected to be drawn to the "attractive nuisance" on the property—a swimming pool. The legal burden falls on the owner of the pool to fence or otherwise keep it inaccessible to children who may wander on the property.
Types of Swimming Pool Accidents
Although swimming pool accidents can happen in a variety of ways, some of the most common include:
- Slip-and-falls: Since the pavement surrounding swimming pools is usually wet, the potential for slips and falls is quite high. Most pools have posted rules banning any form of running on the pool deck or horseplay that could lead to a serious fall, and lifeguards are supposed to enforce those rules. If there is no lifeguard on duty, that responsibility would fall to an adult supervising any children in the pool area. Certain materials used in the construction of a pool deck can help reduce slipperiness, and are increasingly recommended. It is also important for pool owners to keep areas around the pool clear of debris and other tripping hazards.
- Near-drowning: A near-drowning occurs when someone is underwater and has difficulty swimming, often beginning to take water into the lungs. The water is eventually expelled and the person resumes breathing normally. But in near-drowning, victims can suffer brain damage due to lack of oxygen, depending on how long they were submerged.
- Drowning: In a drowning, someone is trapped underwater, taking water into the lungs. Resuscitation may be possible in some situations, though the potential for brain damage due to lack of oxygen is high. Without quick action and immediate CPR, fatalities from drowning are tragically common.
- Diving accidents: Diving accidents occur when someone dives into a pool and strikes the bottom, sides, or other objects—even another swimmer. Pools must be clearly marked with depth markers and signage, so swimmers know where it is safe to dive. Other swimmers should be kept out of those areas so that they are not struck by a diver. Head-first dives into shallow water can result in serious head or spinal cord injuries due to impact with the pool's bottom.
- Pool suction: It is possible for someone to get stuck in a swimming pool drain, making it hard to move or surface when underwater. This hazard is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly, who may not have the strength to escape the suction. Older pool drains are considerably more dangerous, a before being allowed to swim, swimmers should always be warned and made aware of suction in a pool by the pool's owner.
- Recreational water illness: Pool water can be a breeding ground for disease. Swimmers can breathe in or accidentally swallow germs and chemicals in and around pools. The most common recreational water illness (RWI) is diarrhea due to norovirus, E.coli, or another germ; but other infections can develop in the swimmer’s gastrointestinal tract, skin, ears, lungs, eyes, open wounds, and even the brain. Though chlorine treatment will kill most germs, the time it takes to work can vary depending on the germ. That is why it is so important for the pool’s owner to disinfect the pool and not allow potentially ill swimmers in the pool.
Liability for Swimming Pool Injuries
Sometimes, no one is to blame for a swimming pool accident. It is simply a tragic accident, and as parents ourselves, we mourn for every family who suffers this trauma.
However, if there was negligence on the part of the pool’s owner, or negligent supervision while the pool was in use, someone else may be liable for the injuries or illness the victim suffered.
Privately owned pools must be properly maintained by the pool's owner, and people invited to use it should be kept reasonably safe. Public pools are the responsibility of the city or organization that owns the pool and offers it for use by the public. However, this area of law is complex and a thorough investigation is often needed to get to the bottom of what really happened and why.
If you or your child has been injured while at a swimming pool, Bottlinger Law L.L.C. wants to help. Our Omaha premises liability attorney will provide a one-on-one consultation to discuss your case and determine if there might be compensation available. If there is, we will research and document the facts, gathering evidence to make a strong legal case on your behalf. We will charge no fee until we get fair compensation for you and your family.
Call (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation today.
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