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Swimming Pool Injuries

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The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield, Attorneys  Personal Injury & Property Damage, Las Vegas, NV

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Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Drowning or Near Drowning Cases:

I obtained a settlement for $5,750,000.00 on behalf of a young child who suffered brain damage after falling into an apartment complex swimming pool (Clark County District Court Case #96-A-365064-C). The apartment complex had a fence around the pool area, but the gate was not working properly such that the child was able to gain access. The landlord claimed that the gate was broken by some tenants just before the incident, but an investigation revealed that the gate had been broken for a longer time period.

This case illustrates that in addition to death a common swimming or pool injury case can involve serious brain damage due to a near growing in which the victim survives, but was deprived of oxygen for too long. 

In addition to violations of fencing and gating regulations, other causes of very serious injury or death around a pool include:

  • Malfunction and overly powerful drain suctions
  • Electrical faults causing electrocution
  • Lack of or improper depth markings so that a person either unknowlingly gets in water over his or her head, or dives into water that is too shallow causing brain or spinal cord injury

Swimming pools are fun but many people are surprised to find out just how dangerous a place a pool can be. Every year, many adults and children drown or suffer serious injury in swimming pools.

Children are attracted to pools. Even though a young child cannot swim, the child may fall into the pool or even jump in as the result of mimicking what that child has seen older children or adults do.

Pool owners have a legal and moral duty to fence off the area their pool is in. Failure to adequately do so can be the basis of criminal and tort liability. Parents also have a duty to supervise their children, and their guests around their pools.

Homeowner's insurance policies can often be tapped to help obtain compensation for injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered injury in relation to any kind of pool, please contact us as we may be able to help.

Finally, I have gotten some calls from landlords as a result of this website page asking how they can protect themselves against being sued by tenants if they rent out a property with a swimming pool. The two easy answers are:

  1. The pool must be fenced with self-locking gates, and 
  2. Make sure you have insurance that covers you against being sued over the pool so that if you do get sued it's your insurance company's problem, not yours. This means that if you only own a few rental properties, get a good landlord's liability policy on each property, and, if there is a pool, be sure to discuss that with your insurance agent and see if you need a special endorsement. I will be glad to give more specific advice, tailored to your situation, during a paid appointment.

Slip and Fall Cases around Pools:

The areas around swimming pools are often soaking wet because people have just gotten out of the pool dripping wet. In addition, and especially in Las Vegas, people may have put on lots of sun tan lotion which could leave an oily residue. This makes it easier to fall. Jurors may expect people to be extra careful when walking in a pool area. As is often the case with slip and fall or trip and fall cases, the best cases involve a structural defect such as a loose tile or a loose handrail. If you are the fall victim of such a structural defect, be sure to have someone demonstrate it with a cell phone photo. The walking surfaces around pools should be non-slip, for example, rough granite tiles rather than mirror polished granite tiles.

Note: Insurance companies don't make money paying out claims. They make money thinking up reasons not to pay claims. If you rent out your home be sure to advise your insurance company so you can change the policy to reflect that it is not owner occupied. Otherwise, you may find no coverage when you make a claim. If you home is vacant, again, advise your insurance company. Being honest with your insurance company in this way may cost you extra premiums but it may save you having a claim denied.