Austin Swimming Pool Injury Lawyer
During the hot Texas summer, a dip in a pool is one of the most enjoyable ways to cool off. But swimming also comes with risks.
Swimming pool safety includes many elements – clean water, proper maintenance, and, when children are present, constant supervision. Dirty pools can make people seriously ill, and children can drown without adult supervision.
If you have suffered an injury in a pool accident, or lost an immediate family member in a pool accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm to request your free, no-obligation case consultation: 1-855-414-1012.
Pool Injuries and Illnesses
In August 2014, a Plano man suffered a broken ankle and torn knee ligaments while at a public pool. When he stepped on the plastic grating that surrounds the pool, the grate snapped, and his leg sank into the drain. A subsequent inspection a few months later found hairline cracks throughout the pool’s grating, and city officials closed the facility for six weeks to make repairs.
When pools are not properly sanitized, swimmers may be at risk for infections, respiratory illness, and eye, ear, and skin irritation. Chlorine kills many of the pollutants in pools, but it is ineffective against Cryptosporidium, a germ that causes extreme intestinal illness that may be fatal to young children and senior citizens.
Drowning and near-drowning are the biggest risks for small children, and about 20 percent of children who survive near-drowning suffer from severe lifelong neurological disabilities. Children are also at risk of entrapment injuries, which happen when an uncovered drain traps them under the water. These accidents, while rare, are often fatal, and a child who survives drain entrapment will most likely have a severe injury or disability.
Supervision and Emergency Response
In June, an 8-year-old boy was pulled, unconscious, from the 1-foot-deep wading pool at Washington Aquatic Center, in Midland. People who were at the pool said they had concerns that emergency protocol had not been followed that day – one eyewitness reported that the lifeguards were shouting at each other about rescuing the boy, and at least one seemed to be unaware of what was happening. The witness said the lifeguards did not immediately administer CPR. The child was breathing when taken to a hospital for treatment.
According to the YMCA of Greater Houston, it takes only 2 minutes for a child to lose consciousness in the water, and most drowning deaths occur silently – children can sink below the surface in seconds, before they can call for help. The adults responsible for their care must make sure they devote their undivided attention to watching children who are in or near water. But adults sometimes make deadly errors in judgment.
As explained in an article in Houstonia magazine, a psychological phenomenon known as diffusion of responsibility is associated with many child drowning deaths and near-drowning accidents. That’s when people with a joint responsibility assume all parties are equally invested, which in turn causes each person to take less seriously their own share of responsibility. So, if multiple adults are supposed to be watching children in a pool, drowning is actually more likely than if a single adult were watching the children.
For children ages 1 through 4, residential pools are the most common sites of drowning. Whether in their own backyard or a neighbor’s yard, small children are drawn to water, so homeowners must ensure no one can access the pool without supervision.
Texas state law requires homeowners with pools to surround the pool with fencing at least 4 feet high; it cannot be chain-link fencing; and if the fence is made of wood, cross-beams must face the pool, to prevent children from climbing in from the outside. Fences must also be free of gaps that would allow a 4-inch spherical object through, and self-locking gates must be installed.
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance says that multiple layers of protection are necessary to prevent drowning deaths. Even with pool covers, fencing, gates, and gate alarms in place, adult supervision will always be essential when children are anywhere near a pool.
Contact Our Austin Swimming Pool Injury Lawyers For Help
If a pool accident has harmed a member of your immediate family, you need an experienced swimming Austin pool accident attorney on your side. The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm works diligently to determine the causes of accidents, and when someone else is found to be at fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and other expenses.
Don’t wait to get help. Contact us online, or at 1-855-414-1012, to request your free consultation.