Archive for the ‘Swimming Pool Accidents’ Category

Fatal Drowning of 5-Year-Old Girls Grim Reminder of Swimming Pool Dangers

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

With the temperature rising as summer is upon us, kids are instinctively drawn to swimming pools.  While a swimming pool can be the source of endless hours of fun and recreation, it can also be an extremely dangerous place where children may suffer catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.  If your child is going to be at a home with a swimming pool, it is essential to understand who will be supervising your child and to ensure that your child is a proficient swimmer.  Parents should also confirm that any pool at a home that their child will be visiting is properly secured with a fence, locked gate, cover and/or similar protective measures.

A recent tragedy in Georgia serves as a grim reminder of the pool related dangers to children when there is inadequate supervision of children in the vicinity of a swimming pool.  Two five-year-old girls drowned while the grandparent of one of the girls who was the nanny of the other was preoccupied on a 45 minute phone call.  The nanny is now facing criminal charges and will likely be the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the parents of the girl that the nanny was supposed to be watching.

While this is a terrible tragedy, it is not rare when kids are left in the vicinity of swimming pools without close adult supervision.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that drowning is the leading cause of fatalities involving children ages 1-4.  CDC data also reveals that younger children are most prone to suffering wrongful death caused by drowning in a swimming pool.  Because children spend more time in pools during the summer, approximately fifty percent of drowning incidents involving kids occur from June through the end of August.

The importance of vigilance regarding the location of small children around swimming pools can hardly be overstated.  Drowning data reveals that ninety percent of children that survive near drowning incidents are discovered within the first two minutes after falling into the pool.  There are many hazards that pose the risk of catastrophic injury or wrongful death including:

  • Falling in a pool and drowning
  • Drain entrapment accidents
  • Head injuries suffered when slipping on wet pavement
  • Diving board accidents
  • Accidents involving defective or missing lifesaving equipment

If your child is injured in a Mississippi swimming pool accident, our experienced Mississippi swimming pool accident attorneys provide effective legal representation to drowning victims and their families.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Summer’s Approaching So Focus on Swimming Pool Safety

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

With summer rapidly approaching, swimming is on the minds of more and more children.  Every swimming pool poses a considerable risk to a child’s safety, and they are the second biggest cause of death for children, who are under the age of 14.  Over 1,000 children drown in swimming pools every year, and more than 5,000 children end up in the hospital due to swimming pool accidents. Although swimming pools can be a great place to have fun during the summer months, or warm weather, they can also be a place fraught with dangerous hazards, resulting in slip and fall injuries, submersion accidents, and drowning accidents.

Many property owners who have swimming pools on their properties do their best to protect children from swimming pool and drowning accidents, but the reality is that any property owner who has a swimming pool on their premises can never be too careful when it comes to safeguarding their pool.  A recent study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommended that a swimming pool owners use multiple precautions to provide for the safety of any children who may resides on the same property with a swimming pool or live nearby. Some of the safety recommendations include: (1) installing a fence with a self-locking latch; (2) keeping emergency equipment in a convenient location in case a child has an accident; and (3) having a cell phone or landline available at all times when children are swimming to insure that 911 can be summoned promptly.

Swimming pools are a somewhat unique hazard, and homeowners may be found liable for swimming pool injuries to a child even if the child trespasses and uses the property owner’s swimming pool without the homeowner’s knowledge or permission.  Swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” under premise liability law. An attractive nuisance is essentially a manmade condition on one’s property that could foreseeably attract a child, and that poses dangers that a child is not likely to fully appreciate.  Because young children do not necessarily understand the risks of injury or fatality posed by a swimming pool, swimming pools are the archetype example of an attractive nuisance.

There are many types of hazards that may cause injuries in and around swimming pools, including:

  • Faulty life-saving and safety equipment
  • Faulty drains or missing drain covers resulting in entrapment injuries
  • Improperly installed diving boards
  • Lack of adult supervision
  • Gates that do not latch or missing enclosures

Some of the most common injuries that children sustain in swimming pool accidents include head trauma from falls, brain damage or death from drowning incidents or spinal cord injuries from diving accidents.  If you or someone you love has a child who was recently injured in a swimming pool accident, we encourage you to contact our experienced team of personal injury attorneys today.  At the Barrett Law Offices PLLC, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.

Children and Swimming Pools: Understanding the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Swimming pools pose a substantial risk to children and constitute the second leading cause of death for children under 14.  Swimming pools are both a fun source of recreation for many children and a place of great danger including submersion and drowning accidents, diving board injuries and slip and fall accidents on wet pavement as well as injuries caused by poolside apparatus.  Property owners that have a swimming pool are held to a very high standard to protect children from drowning accidents and other hazards presented by swimming pools.  Approximately a thousand children per year drown in swimming pool accidents and another five thousand children are hospitalized.

Residential property owners are expected to take precautions to prevent swimming pool accidents.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends multiple layers of precautions including vigilance in the supervision of children, installation of a fence that is both self-closing and self-latching as well as having emergency equipment available, such as keeping rescue equipment by the pool along with a phone so that 911 can be called in an emergency.

Swimming pools pose such a unique danger to children that homeowners may be liable for injury to children who trespass and use a homeowner’s pool without the consent of the property owner.  The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine provides that a property owner may be liable to a trespassing child who is injured by an artificial condition on property that would tend to be attractive to a child who may not have the maturity to appreciate the risk.  The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is based on the following conditions:

  • A property owner knows or has reason to know children are likely to trespass on one’s property.
  • The property owner understands  the risk that a swimming pool poses to children
  • The child lacks the maturity to understand the danger associated with a swimming pool.
  • The costs and difficulty to eliminate the risk is slight in relation to the risk.
  • The property owner fails to take reasonable care to eliminate the danger.

A swimming pool accident can result in serious injuries like fatal drowning, brain damage and other catastrophic and life-altering injuries.  It is important to be extremely diligent when your child is swimming or playing in the vicinity of a swimming pool.  If your child is injured in a swimming pool accident, our experienced  accident injury attorneys may be able to help you seek the compensation you need to compensate you for your injuries.  We invite you to contact Barrett Law so that we can evaluate your Mississippi pool or spa accident claim and advise you of your rights and options.  Call us at 662-834-2376.

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Taking Legal Action Following a Drowning or Swimming Pool Accident in Mississippi

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The Center for Disease Control reports 3,308 United States drownings in 2004—an average of nine people per day, and for each person who drowns, another 1-4 people suffer serious enough injuries that they require hospitalization. Half of those survivors will suffer a significant level of neurological impairment, leaving them with highly uncertain futures. Children under five and those between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates, and one-fifth of all children who drown do so in a public pool with a lifeguard on duty.

Why are There So Many Drownings?

Accidents involving water can be both terrible and deadly. Water accidents and drownings occur in water parks, motels or hotels, private pools, lakes, rivers or ponds.  These tragedies can be the result of supervision which has failed in its duty, sheer negligence in the form of faulty gates, drains or other hazards, or when a victim has entered an area which was meant to be restricted.

While we tend to believe that children who drown were not being closely supervised, statistics show that 70 percent of the preschoolers who drown were in the care of one or both parents—and were missing from sight for less than five minutes. This statistic proves how quickly such a calamity can occur.  Even the victims who survive a potential drowning often have some level of brain damage as a result of the lack of oxygen during the accident, effectively changing their lives forever.

Safety Recommendations for Home Pools

Because the vast majority of drownings occur in backyard pools, there are specific safety recommendations in place for pool owners. First and foremost, property owners with a pool on their property are required to have a four-sided isolation fence which is a minimum of five feet high surrounding their pool. The fence must possess self-closing and self-latching gates and must prevent direct access.  Additionally, many pool owners go the extra mile and install motion detectors, pool covers which prevent access and remote cameras to ensure the safety of neighborhood children.

Proving Negligence in a Drowning

Grieving parents are often desperate to find answers as to why their child is gone, and may also want to prove negligence in order to ensure other parents never experience such heartbreak, however a wrongful death claim involving a drowning can be difficult to pursue. Essential to proving liability are the facts surrounding the incident, and, as we all know, memories fade rapidly and physical evidence can be quickly destroyed. This is the primary reason to hire an attorney immediately following the accident to ensure a proper investigation is conducted.

Responsibility for Safety

It is generally accepted that a resort, park or public pool has a responsibility to keep their visitors safe, and if can be proven that officials or owners were irresponsible in this duty and a death or accident occurred as a result, that negligence is established. It may also be that the lifeguard was not paying attention or performing his or her job in a responsible manner, also resulting in a claim of negligence. Private pool owners also have a duty to implement safety measures to ensure that small children cannot gain access to the pool, precipitating an accident.

While no amount of money can ever compensate for the life of a loved one, there are drowning cases and water accidents which warrant pursuit of criminal actions against the negligent parties. It is also imperative that an attorney who is highly experienced and knowledgeable regarding drowning accidents be involved in the process as this is a highly specialized area.

At Barrett Law, PLLC, a dedicated Mississippi personal injury accident lawyer from our law firm is committed to representing Mississippi car accident victims with the compassion and personal attention that has allowed our law firm to develop a leading reputation throughout Mississippi.  We have been helping Mississippi car accident victims in Lexington and across Mississippi for over 75 years so call Barrett Law, PLLC today at (662) 834-2376.