Drowning Accident Lawyers in Dallas
After road traffic injuries, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (see wrongful death) globally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2005-2009 there was an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States. More statistics indicate that:
- Each day in the United States, nine people drown
- Roughly 5,000 children 14 and under go to the hospital because of accidental drowning-related incidents each year: 15% die and about 20% suffer from permanent neurological disability
- Nineteen percent of child drowning fatalities take place in public schools with certified lifeguards on duty
- In nearly 9 out of 10 child-drowning deaths, a parent or caregiver claimed to be watching the child
- Drowning is the number one cause of death in the United States for children between one and four years old
Signs of Negligence
Common factors that contribute to drowning or near-drowning accidents include: defective pool drains, poor or inadequate pool design, lack of fencing, inadequate pool maintenance, alcohol use, lack of life jacket use and lack of supervision. When an owner, pool manufacturer or lifeguard is negligent, you can hold him/her responsible for the injuries you or your child sustains. How can you know if negligence played a part in yours or your child’s accident? Were any of the following aspects present?
- Obstacles, clutter, debris around pool
- Uncovered vacuum outlets
- Poorly trained lifeguards
- Too few or no lifeguards
- Defective drains resulting in suction drownings
- Poor, broken or no gate or fence
- Overly slippery surfaces without warnings
- Poorly marked water depths
- Lack of signage
- Improper equipment
- Lack of security
All of the causes listed above, reveal carelessness. When near-drowning accidents occur, injuries sustained can include broken bones, brain injuries, contusions, paralyzation, coma, mental or emotional trauma, nightmares, personality changes and anxiety.
What does Texas law say?
Texas has many explicit laws (see Texas Health and Safety Code Section 757.003) that are meant to minimize swimming pool accidents, these guidelines include every public pool must have a fence around it that is at least 48 inches in height. The Texas Local Government Code enforces swimming pool owners to maintain their pool- or they can be fined $1000. Furthermore, since 2004, all public pools are required to have a working phone within 200 feet, in case of emergency.
When it comes to home pools, Title 9, Chapter 757 of Texas’ Health and Safety Code says that these too must have a fence with a height of at least 48 inches. Residential pools, must have a throwing rope at least ¼-inch in diameter, a reaching pool that is at least 12 feet long, a power or manual safety cover and an anti-entrapment device. Other recommendations by Texas’ Drowning Prevention and Swimming Pool Safety Act and the Department of State Health Services involve pool covers, enclosures, entrance devices and suction outlets. Pool retailers and manufacturers must provide information to customers about the Department of State Health Service’s pool-safety recommendations.
Filing a Claim
If code and safety violations occurred, you can hold a pool owner or operator responsible. Likewise, if your residential pool was installed incorrectly or you were not warned about certain risks, you can file a personal injury claim. Sadly, horseplay, swimming while intoxicated and improper use of a pool are not the only reasons why a person can be injured- often an individual can experience a near-drowning incident at no fault of his own. Public pool operators aren’t the only ones who can be held responsible for an accident- residential pool owners can as well. Homeowners have a responsibility to:
- Make sure that children and adults use their pool under supervision
- Clear out all pool toys so that children aren’t tempted by them
- Make sure that life saving devices are nearby and in good condition
- Make sure that their insurance policy on their home includes coverage for any possible pool accidents
- Don’t rely solely on “Swim At Your Own Risk” signs
If a public pool operator, pool installer or residential pool owner caused the injuries you or your family member sustained, you should contact Zinda Law Group immediately so our Dallas Personal Injury Attorneys can help you fight for the damages you deserve!