If you are reading this post, it’s possible you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a swimming pool accident. You are not alone–the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that almost 10 people a day drown. Others suffer spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Here in Atlanta, with our long, muggy summers, we spend a lot of time in the water in our numerous public and residential pools. But in a split second, a life can be changed drastically.
What should I do if I or a loved one has been injured in a swimming pool accident?
First and foremost, if anyone is injured in a pool, call 911. If you know CPR, help out the victim. Identify the pool homeowner or business owner. Any home pool owner is obligated to have insurance coverage. As in any accidents, get the names of witnesses who saw what happened.
Look around at the surroundings. Our firm founder John Foy asks, “Did you see any hazards or issues that looked dangerous in the pool?’’ You may have been too upset to take photos of the surroundings or the event, but if you call our office at 404-400-4000, our investigators will go back to the scene with you, if possible, to document the surroundings.
John Foy & Associates is a large, established personal injury firm in Atlanta. We’ve spent the last 20-plus years solely helping people who have been injured by another’s negligence or fault. We’ve seen our share of pool accidents and we’ll help you recover what is necessary to rebound from this accident.
What are homeowners are supposed to do if they have a pool in their yard?
In Georgia, a permanent barrier that meets state building requirements must surround a home pool. Fences should be a minimum of 4 feet high, although fences 5 feet or higher are preferable. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool must have a specific alarm. Pool owners are required to have homeowner’s insurance. And we recommend that pools have proper lighting to illuminate every surface of the pool.
What if this accident happened at a friend or neighbor’s home?
Tragically, many pool accidents do occur at a friend’s home. For children younger than 5, the majority of drowning and submersion injuries happen in pools owned by the family, friends or relatives, according to government statistics.
At John Foy & Associates, we understand that a loved one may be responsible for your injury. We’ll work towards a settlement so that your child can get the help necessary to recover. And we’ll do it in a kind and thoughtful way since it is such a sensitive situation.
“The only person you really cannot sue in a personal injury claim is your spouse,’’ says firm founder, John Foy. Personal injury claims are already complicated matters, but a claim against a neighbor, relative or friend requires a delicate balance. Our firm works hard to be sensitive and professional while we work your claim.
What are the common kinds of swimming pool accidents?
After more than 20 years of practicing Swimming Pool Accident law in Atlanta, we have seen our share of unintentional harm done. Many accidents happen when people have been drinking or partying. Horseplay leads to broken bones and injured backs, if not worse. A faulty drain system, broken railing, or other faulty equipment can also be responsible.
There are common threads as to who is most vulnerable to a swimming pool accident. Children aged 1 to 3 years (12 months through 47 months) represented 67 percent of the reported fatalities and 66 percent of reported injuries in pools and spas, according to government statistics. African-American children ages 5 through 19, are especially vulnerable. The CDC reports that they are 5.5 times more likely to drown in a pool than white children of the same age.
Does it make a difference if a child or adult has been injured in a swimming pool accident?
It does not make a difference if a child or adult has been injured in a swimming pool accident. “Age should not have any relevance,’’ says John Foy. The key is to prove that the property owner was negligent or that there was a hazard or mechanical defect that lead to an injury.
Under Georgia law you are not obligated to ensure everybody’s safety when they come on your property. “Just because you get hurt at my house does not mean I’m liable,” says John Foy. The property owner must be shown to have known about or should have known about a hazard that was unknown to the victim and the direct cause of the injury.
What if this accident happened at my house? Should I call an attorney or depend on my insurance carrier?
If there is a potential claim against you at your home, you are obligated to call your homeowner’s insurance carrier, says John Foy. “You have a contract with your insurance carrier and it is your obligation to put them on notice of a potential claim.’’
If the claim requires an attorney to settle, your insurance company will provide a legal representative at no extra cost to you.
What if the accident took place in a neighbor’s pond or lake? Are they still liable?
We have many natural and manmade lakes and ponds in the Atlanta area. A homeowner is not required to insure everyone’s safety. But if you have been injured in a lake or pond, call our attorneys at John Foy & Associates at 404-400-4000. We’ll work with you to see if there is a claim. The consultation is free and confidential. No one will know that you called.
Is it different if an accident occurred at a home or a business? Does the business have stricter rules to follow?
In a Swimming Pool Accident case, it doesn’t matter if the accident occurred at a residence or a business. What matters is that the property owner was the cause of what happened and should have prevented the accident.
That said, a business owner and pool owner have different legal requirements. A business owner must have signage. For example, if there is no lifeguard on duty, there must be proper signage telling you so. If a lifeguard is on duty that lifeguard must be properly trained, certified and alert.
I gave my permission for my child to attend a pool party and that’s where the accident took place. Do I still have a case?
A personal injury case depends on whether the homeowner did something wrong. And much depends on the age of the child. Teen-agers and toddlers require different levels of supervision. According to the CDC, 76% of pool deaths involve children younger than 5.
That’s why it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney who can help parse through the facts of your case.
Is there a deadline to file a Swimming Pool Accident Case?
All personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, or a time period for which you can file a case. In most cases, that period is two years from the accident, but there are exceptions when the time period is much shorter. For example, cruise ships, municipalities and Indian reservations often have shorter statutes.
In addition, a personal injury case can provide immediate medical care from providers who will document your injuries. A personal injury case can recover reasonable and necessary medical costs, payment for wages and income lost because of the injury, and pain and suffering. Don’t delay your right to get help by waiting to file a claim.
There were signs not to dive, but my teen-ager dove anyway. Do I still have a case?
Diving is not a good idea anywhere except a diving pool. But many of us at John Foy & Associates have teen-agers of our own and we know that teen-agers often take risks that seem reckless to adults. Give us a call at 404-400-4000 for a free consultation. We’ll try to help in anyway we can, even if the result is not a personal injury claim.
My loved one has drowned at a swimming pool. I don’t know what to do.
If your loved one has drowned in a swimming pool accident, please accept our sincerest condolences. Any catastrophic injury or death case is devastating to all involved. Please call us at 404-400-4000 and we’ll pore through the facts of the case to see if you have a wrongful death case. If someone or some entity was responsible for your loved one’s death, we may be able to help you recover damages so that you can move on as best as possible.
How can a Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer help me?
“Call us up. Let us talk about it. Tell us what happened,’’ says firm founder, John Foy. “We focus 100% of our energy on helping and fighting for injured people.”
A swimming pool accident is a horrible situation. You have lots and lots of questions. We believe that we have the answers. Over the last 20-plus years we’ve helped thousands of victims like you.
Call us at 404-400-4000. Staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don’t get paid unless there is a settlement.