Many Chicagoans loves taking advantage of their local and neighborhood pools as a way to escape the summer heat. Many of us are fortunate to have these accommodations for family enjoyment, exercise, and leisure. However, even though pools area great source of fun and relaxation, where adequate safety measures and procedures are not in place, that enjoyment quickly diminishes when dangers are present and swimming pool accidents occur.
Whether is the local park district, a hotel or amusement park, or even a neighbor, there are precautions that need to be taken to protect swimmers of all ages, especially children who are unable to have the knowledge of physical strength to protect themselves. Landowners, companies, and employees have a legal duty to keep patrons safe from dangers the pool and its surrounding area can present, such as slip and falls or drowning. For instance, the depth of the pool should be marked or posted for swimmers to observe and be aware of how deep or shallow the water is. The same should be done for areas that are or are not appropriate to dive in. In this way, swimmers avoid areas that are too deep for their swimming capabilities and will not dive where it is too shallow to do so. Pools should also have proper surfaces, such as ones with friction, to prevent slipping and post warnings so that patrons are aware to move with caution. If an accident is to occur, readily available and professionally trained lifeguard staff should quickly attend to the accident and save a swimmer from the danger.
Furthermore, pools should properly maintain the facilities for health and safety. Where pool water is unclean, improperly filtered, or murky, swimmers are not easily observable to lifeguards. Remember that it only takes minutes for serious and permanent injury to occur to the human body from drowning. Where pool water is murky, someone drowning and in need of help is not easily noticeable and could suffer serious injury or death when not seen and rescued. The same is true when facilities are overcrowded. The crowding can cause bumping or force someone to be stuck under water, or cause someone to be unnoticeable when in a situation like drowning. Additionally, when a pool’s mechanics are not maintained or properly functioning, these can pose a risk for entrapment or disembowelment.
Sadly, swimming pool accidents are all too common. According to recent news by ABC 7 Chicago, a 6 year old boy drowned in a Bridgeview pool where he was visiting as part of a park district summer camp program. At the time of the drowning, he was pulled unresponsive from the shallow end of the south suburban pool. It was unclear how long he had been under water. He was rushed to the hospital with a weak pulse and place in the intensive care unit where he later died from injury.
Our attorneys empathize with the family of this young child. We feel that families should be able to trust that when they enroll their children in fun summer programs that they will remain healthy and free from injury and death. In our eyes drownings are inexcusable and negligent, and serious injury and death are preventable with proper vigilance and safety measures, like we described above. If your or someone you love has suffered or died from a swimming pool accident, you may be able to hold wrongdoers who caused this accident liable through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Our attorneys would be happy to discuss your legal options with you in a free consultation.