Articles Posted in Chicago swimming accident

When we think of summertime and pools, we envision many things. We think of kicking back on a raft relaxing, warm sunshine as we float in the cool water, having splash fights with our friends in the hot sun, or sliding down a water slide. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically not on the top of one’s mind when they think of spending summer days by the pool, but unfortunately drowning is a common occurrence every year in public and private pools in the Chicago area.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a father of a teen who died last year at a public pool is suing the Chicago Park District. He alleges that officials at the pool failed to properly monitor the area and provide aid to the boy. The teen boy died last August at the McKinley Park pool on Pershing Road in Chicago. Witnesses to the drowning described that the boy dove into the deep end of the pool and didn’t come up to the surface for over a minute. They also described that they did not see a lifeguard perform CPR on the boy. The father filed the lawsuit in the Cook County Court and claims that the Chicago Park District, through its lifeguards, failed to monitor and control the premises to help the boy. The suit claims that the teen’s father and brother have suffered as a result of the death and asks for over $50,000 in damages.
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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.
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There is not much that is more enjoyable than jumping into a cold pool on a hot summer’s day. While swimming is a great way for families to get outdoors and enjoy the summer months, when swimming pools pose great dangers for adults and children when they are not properly maintained or lack the appropriate life-saving equipment required by law. When drowning deaths occur as a result of poorly marked swimming pools or improper pool maintenance, families can hold wrongdoers accountable through swimming pool lawsuits.

Just this past weekend, four young children died in the Chicago area in swimming pool accidents. The Chicago Tribune reports that one child died at a relative’s home, another at a country club swimming pool, and two others in a water-filled pit in Gary. These tragic accidents highlight the dangers that swimming pools pose to children and importance of parents and pool owners doing their part to ensure a safe summer for everyone. Serious injuries or fatalities can occur when pools are not operated, secured, or properly maintained. Oftentimes pool accidents lead to death when victims are deprived of oxygen, but victims who survive may be faced with life-altering brain injuries from which they require lifelong medical care and support. We also know that others may suffer serious and debilitating spinal cord injuries in diving accidents.

What can pool owners and operators do to help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for family, friends and patrons? One common cause of drowning is unclean and murky pool water which can hinder a swimmer’s visibility to guardians, lifeguards, and others sharing the pool. Owners should keep pool water properly balanced and clean to ensure visibility for swimmers and guards alike. At public pools and water parks, overcrowded facilities make it difficult for swimmers to move around and can cause swimmers to be pushed and held underwater. Pool operators can remedy this by setting and enforcing strict capacity limitations. Another important issue is inadequately marked shallow and deep ends. Deep ends should be marked to provide knowledge of water that is above wading level, and shallow ends should be marked so people know not to dive and avoid head injury.
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Our Illinois swimming pool attorneys know that summer always brings a string of drownings and near-drownings across our area. As local residents attempt to beat the summer heat, many people flock to wherever they can stay cool and enjoy afternoon fun. Often that means that they end in their backyard pools, public pools, water parks, and at similar places.

Unfortunately, far too many owners and operators of those public spaces fail to take the steps necessary to keep the water experience safe. When that happens, young children are often caught in the crosshairs. For example, the Beacon News reported yesterday on a tragic Illinois swimming pool accident that took the life of a two-year Aurora child. According to reports the young child was at a home apparently used for daycare services when she fell into an above ground swimming pool in the backyard. The home belonged to a 36-year old woman who was the only adult home at the time.

The woman noticed that the child was missing and then saw that an interior door leading to an attached garage was opened. She followed that to the backyard before eventually checking in the pool and finding the child in the water. She pulled her from the pool, called 911 and began administering CPR. Emergency crews rushed to the scene, but little could be done for the child. She died at a nearby hospital shortly afterwards.

Summer season is in full swing in our area with many residents spending much of their free time outside. Of course water activities remain a key component of many summertime events. Beaches abound along the miles of development-free Chicago coastline, pools grace hotel rooftops, community pools provide local aquatic fun, and a variety of other spots give residents and their families the chance to swim.

Yet, each Chicago personal injury lawyer at our firm hopes to stress that it is important to keep safety in mind to avoid falling victim to a Chicago swimming accident. As an article earlier this month in St. Louis Today reminded readers, the prevalence of accidents in the water remains high. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that as many as 1,000 children are killed each year because of these accidents.

Of course supervision is a cornerstone of water safety. All parents should keep eyes on their kids to ensure that they are not struggling in the water. One expert explained the narrow window through which most drownings occur, noting “If the child gets away and is submerged for even a few minutes, that is long enough to sustain serious decreased oxygen and serious brain injury.”

Besides supervision by parents, the operators of community water spaces must ensure that they take basic steps to keep pools safe. Water must never be murky, as that makes it difficult for observers to see swimmers in trouble. All drains must be equipped with proper covers to ensure they pose no threat to those caught in its suction. Others requirements include preventing overcrowding, keeping proper fencing, properly marking water depths, and similar actions.
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