When school lets out and summer temperatures rise, many people flock to swimming pools, private and municipal, to beat the summer heat. Caution must be exercised when children are involved in pool activities. Nearly 300 children age five and under drown in pools and spas every year, according to a 2015 report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In order to prevent such fatalities, pools are regulated in the state of South Carolina. Public pools have stricter regulations than private pools, but any pool owner shown to be negligent in the care and operation of a pool facility can be held liable for swimming pool accidents that occur on their premises. In South Carolina, regulations control pool construction materials, drainage systems, water quality and depth, electrical and lighting requirements, signage, fences and gates, and many other aspects of pool operation. Despite these requirements, accidents still happen due to these common causes:
- Dangerous bacteria – Infections can lurk in swimming pool water that has not been properly treated. The parasite Cryptosporidium is extremely resistant to chlorine and can live for days in water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2011-2012 there were 90 outbreaks affecting 1,788 people. Ninety-five of those victims had to be hospitalized. Cryptosporidium is spread through hot tubs, spas and pools.
- Drainage and filtration systems– Pool drainage creates a powerful suction that can be deadly for small children. A federal law mandates that drains be retrofitted or changed to prevent this from happening.
- Inadequate supervision – Some pools have no supervision at all, while others employ lifeguards who are inattentive or inadequately trained.
- Lack of barriers – Children are often not yet able to swim and they are both attracted to water and too young to recognize its inherent dangers. Pools are required to have fences and gates to prevent small children from wandering in and drowning.
- Lack of signage – Warnings should be posted to inform pool users of any unsafe conditions that exist on the premises.
Premises Liability and Public Pools
Public pool operators have a high legal duty of care toward their patrons. This means they are obligated to maintain a safe environment for those using the pool so that no harm comes to them. In the case of a swimming pool accident, if it is found that the pool owner was not in compliance with all applicable regulations, he or she may be found negligent. This liability may be limited in cases where the owner is the municipality or other government entity. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is also different if the public pool is owned by a government entity. It is highly advisable to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can ensure your claim is not denied due to legal technicalities.
Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Compensation for Victims of Pool Accidents
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a swimming pool accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we can help you determine your legal options and handle your claim so that you can focus on getting better. Call us at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Columbia personal injury lawyer.
From our offices conveniently located throughout, South Carolina, we represent clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.