The combination of warm Chicago weather and Memorial Day weekend celebrations mean that many homeowners will be opening up their swimming pools soon. Although swimming pools are a wonderful source of enjoyment in Illinois during the warmer months, if pools are not operated, secured, or maintained properly, they can be very dangerous.
On the heels of a recent report by MSNBC detailing the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest study found that drowning remains the leading cause of death in children under age 4 (other than birth defects), our Chicago personal injury lawyers want to remind both swimming pool owners and parents alike to be careful around pools this summer.
The CDC’s study revealed that each year, in the United States alone, approximately 3,900 people die from drowning and another 5,700 received emergency care for near- drowning incidents, said MSNBC. Even scarier was the fact that death rates were highest for children between ages 1 and 4 years-old, and more than half of all people treated in emergency rooms for near-drowning incidents were younger than 4 years old.
As a general rule, under Illinois law, a swimming pool owner is responsible for maintaining the condition of the pool and securing its surroundings. If pool owners fail to do those things and an injury or drowning occurs as a result, the pool owner may be held legally liable for damages arising from those injuries.
Illinois land owner liability, otherwise known as Illinois premises liability law, is an important aspect of Illinois personal injury law that allows victims to recover after they have been injured on another person’s property, and the negligence of the property owner was the cause of that harm. In order to apply to a set of circumstances, premises liability law requires a number of factors to be satisfied: the defendant must be the owner or possessor of the land, or “premises” – in this case, the swimming pool. Additionally, the person or persons on the land of another must be injured by negligence or a different wrongful act; as it applies here, the landowner has a duty to maintain the pool and surrounding area. An Illinois premises liability lawsuit may be filed if the swimming pool operator did not follow regulations and perform his or her duties under the law.
Nevertheless, a Chicago personal injury attorney will attest that the best situation is one in which an injury is prevented before it occurs. In addition to being aware of the potential dangers of swimming pools, the CDC’s report recommends that “all parents and children should learn survival swimming skills,” citing the fact that swimming lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning among children under four in the United States. Additionally, other ways to prevent drowning include isolating pools with fences, avoiding alcohol use while swimming, boating or supervising children, wearing lifejackets while boating, and learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the report said.
Our Illinois swimming pool accident lawyers encourage everyone who spends time near the water this summer to be aware of the safety risks. Hopefully, with understanding and preparation, devastating injuries may be avoided altogether.