Summer is here, and that means vacationers in Georgia will be visiting swimming pools at hotels, beaches and private residences. Swimming pool accidents remain a major cause of injury for many Americans. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 390 people drown each year in a pool or spa. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five who die from drowning are children aged 14 and younger. Other types of accidents can cause serious injuries as well. There are several ways to keep a fun visit to the pool from becoming a tragic event.
The law considers swimming pools to be “attractive nuisances.” This term refers to a dangerous condition on someone’s property that is likely to attract children and thereby cause harm. Owners of properties with pools – including hotels, motels, private residences and others – must take extra precaution to avoid swimming pool accidents. This means ensuring that pools are safe for children, even if they trespass or aren’t permitted to use the pool.
Among the steps a property owner may be expected to take in order to keep the pool safe are:
Installing fencing around the backyard or the pool itself. All property owners with pools in Georgia are expected to have proper fencing. Failure to maintain a sufficient barrier will likely result in liability in the event of an accident.
Using motion sensor alarms. These are typically necessary where the pool is enclosed within a house or other structure. A sensor can detect movement near a pool, or it can detect water movement when someone enters the pool itself.
Covering the pool. A protective cover can provide added safety, especially during off seasons or when property owners are out of town. They must be installed and used correctly, and the best ones are usually made of sturdy fiberglass.
Proper supervision of swimmers. When the pool is in use, the property owners must adequately supervise anyone swimming. Public pools should have lifeguards on duty, while unattended pools must have proper signage warning swimmers.
Locking gates and doors leading to the pool. These keep older children, who know how to open doors and gates, from swimming without supervision. A pool owner with a door or gate should keep it secured at all times.
Failure to take these and other steps may result in someone being hurt. Whether the owner of the property will be held liable depends on the circumstances of each case. Risks are increased in the event of alcohol consumption, poor signage, or lack of depth indicators. Lack of, or improper, safety equipment may also make it difficult to aid an accident victim.
Drowning is not the only type of injury sustained by swimming pool accident victims. Other injuries include:
These and other injuries can affect adults as well as children. Accidents may result in extensive hospital stays and medical bills. In the case of near-drowning accidents, rehabilitation or disability care may be required. Adult victims may also lose time from work or have diminished earning capacity following a serious accident.
Going to the pool is an enjoyable way to spend the summer. When adequate safety measures are put in place, few people experience any problems. When property owners are negligent, however, there is an increased likelihood someone will get hurt or killed. Be sure to read the Daily Report article detailing our client Ashton Schneider’s win in court after her near drowning at the age of seven, here. If you or a loved one have been involved in a pool accident, your first step is getting medical attention. The next step is making sure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. The experienced attorneys at Hammers Law Firm are ready to help with your case.