Swimming season is nearly upon us. Whether you use the pool at the local YMCA, visit a water park, or have a membership to a local public pool, there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than spending time at the swimming pool.
However, pools are inherently dangerous places. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to help people when they get injured because of others’ negligence—and that includes swimming pool-related injuries.
People who own or manage properties or businesses with swimming pools should be extremely cautious and hands-on when it comes to maintaining them and protecting guests, but they don’t always do that. And when they fail to uphold their responsibility, we hold them liable for any injuries that innocent victims suffer.
Where Do Swimming Pool Injuries Occur?
During the course of a single summer, a typical Oklahoma family may visit more than one pool, in their city and while on vacation. All of those pools have different levels of liability and different parties who can be held accountable for injuries. For example:
- Public pools—Pools at government-funded places like community centers and town recreation areas should always be staffed with lifeguards when swimmers are present.
- Hotel pools—Hotel pools can range in size from large water park-like attractions to small backyard-sized swimming pools. These pools should be supervised and protected from the public via fences or locked entrances.
- Gym pools—Pools in private gymnasiums, recreation centers, YMCAs, etc., should have lifeguards present and be accessible only to members.
- Water parks—Water parks should always be fully staffed with attendants who supervise all areas where guests come into contact with water, including the beginning and end of rides, lazy rivers, wave pools, hot tubs, and more.
3 Types of Injured Swimming Pool Users
In general, premises liability laws—or the laws that govern things like slips, trips, and falls—will also apply to injuries suffered in or near swimming pools. That means that the level of responsibility that pool owners and managers have to the people who utilize their pools can vary depending on the type of pools they manage.
- Licensees—Private pool owners and managers owe the greatest responsibility to licensees, which are guests who have privileges of using pools on private property.
- Invitees—Public pool owners and managers must do a reasonable job of maintaining and repairing pools to reduce guests’ risks when using these facilities.
- Trespassers—Both private and public pool owners don’t have responsibility for protecting trespassers from danger in their pools, unless the trespasser is a child. That’s why all pools must be fenced-in and made inaccessible to children. To comply with this, fences must be an adequate height and have self-closing and self-latching gates.
It is also important to clarify the difference between a public and a private pool. A public pool is usually legally defined as one that is operated for the use of the general public, with or without charge. It also refers to pools intended only for the use of members or guests of a private club or organization, including hotels and apartment complexes. Unless a pool is on the property of a single-family home, it is likely a public pool.
Take these Steps after a Swimming Pool Injury to Get Compensation
Although the legal process of proving liability after a swimming pool injury is different than many other types of personal injuries, the steps you should take after getting hurt are straightforward. Those steps include:
- Call 911 if the injury is serious—Some pool-related injuries can be life-threatening or cause victims serious pain. If you or someone you love gets seriously injured at a pool, calling 911 can mean getting faster medical attention. It also dispatches a police officer to the scene, who will create an official accident report regarding your injuries.
- Go to a doctor—Whether you need to call an ambulance or not, it’s essential that you see a doctor right away. Getting attention from a healthcare professional not only ensures your injuries will be treated and prevent them from getting worse, but it also creates a medical record that proves your injuries occurred at the pool.
- Document the accident scene—If possible, take photos of the pool, its equipment, and the surrounding area. Pictures can help set the scene for your accident and why it happened, as well as potential negligence on the part of the pool owner or operator.
- Call an experienced premises liability lawyer—The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the better. Evidence can quickly disappear after swimming pool injuries, and the owner or operator of the pool may attempt to make repairs that can make it difficult to prove broken equipment resulted in your injury.
- Don’t admit fault or discuss your injury on social media—As with all personal injury claims, both the liable party and their insurance provider will be reluctant to give you compensation for your injury-related expenses. If you admit fault, even partial fault, or talk about your injury and claim on social media, your statements may be used against you.
Here’s How We’ll Work to Get You Compensation
Now that you know what you should do after a swimming pool injury, here’s what we’ll do after we speak with you:
- We’ll collect evidence that proves your injuries happened at the swimming pool.
- We’ll determine what type of pool you were injured at and the owner’s or operator’s responsibility to you while you were using their pool.
- We’ll determine your relationship with the pool owner or operator and whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
- We’ll calculate how much money you’re owed for your pool-related injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- We’ll create a demand letter that shows the fair settlement you’re owed, and we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you get paid in full.
Get a Law Firm that Knows Oklahoma’s Swimming Pool Injury Laws
Injuries that occur at or near swimming pools can be complex, depending on the types of pool that injured victims were at and their relationship with the pool’s premises at the time of their injuries. Because of this complexity, it’s essential to have an experienced law firm on your side from day one.
The legal team at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers will collect evidence that proves the pool owner or manager failed to take the necessary steps to protect you. Then, we’ll work hard to hold them accountable for your injuries and to get you maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.