Community pools are popular destinations, especially during the summer. But accidents happen, even in well-maintained facilities. If you’re injured in a public or private community pool, it’s crucial to know what steps to take to protect your rights. Attorney J.J. Dominguez of The Dominguez Firm explains, “If you or a loved one suffer serious injuries in a pool accident, it’s vital you hire an experienced pool accident lawyer right away. Waiting can greatly jeopardize your claim. And if your accident happened at a public pool, such as one owned by your local municipality, you usually only have six months to file a claim.”
Here’s some more information on community pool accidents and what steps to take if you injure yourself in one.
The Possible Defendants
When someone is injured at a community pool, there can be multiple potential defendants depending on the circumstances of the injury. It’s important to note that laws may vary between jurisdictions, so the specific parties involved may differ.
Pool Owner: The owner of the pool may be held liable for injuries if it can be shown that their negligence or failure to maintain a safe environment directly caused the injury. This could include inadequate maintenance, lack of proper signage, or failure to address known hazards.
Pool Operator/Manager: If the pool is operated or managed by a separate entity or individual, they may share responsibility for the safety of the pool users. Their negligence or failure to follow proper safety protocols could make them potentially liable for injuries.
Local Government/Authority: If the pool is owned or operated by a local or state government, they may be subject to liability if their negligence, inadequate maintenance, or failure to address known hazards led to the injury.
Lifeguards: Lifeguards are responsible for monitoring pool activities and ensuring the safety of swimmers. If a lifeguard fails to perform their duties properly, such as not providing adequate supervision or not responding promptly to a dangerous situation, they may be held accountable for injuries that result.
Equipment Manufacturers: If a defect in pool equipment, such as a ladder or diving board, directly causes the injury, the manufacturer of that equipment may be liable under product liability laws.
Other Pool Users: In certain circumstances, another pool user’s actions may contribute to an injury. For example, if a person recklessly pushes someone into the pool, causing harm, they may be held responsible.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a Community Pool
Prioritize Your Safety
The first and most important step after sustaining an injury in a community pool is your safety. Move to a safe location, away from any immediate hazards, and assess the extent of your injuries. Call for medical assistance or ask a lifeguard to do so. Remember, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial not only for your well-being but also for documenting your injuries and establishing a link between the accident and your condition.
Report the Accident
After ensuring your safety, notify pool management or staff about what happened, providing them with details of the accident and any visible hazards that may have contributed to your injury. Ask for a written report of the accident, including the names of the staff members you spoke to and the steps they took in response. This documentation will be invaluable when filing a personal injury claim later.
If you’re physically able to, take photos of the scene, noting any hazards, inadequate signage, or poorly maintained equipment that may have contributed to your accident. If there were witnesses, get their contact information since their statements can support your claim. Also, keep records of all medical treatment and expenses related to your injury. This evidence will help establish the severity of your injuries and the financial impact they have had on your life.
Seek Legal Representation
Consult with a personal injury attorney right away. They can evaluate your case, guide you through the process, and advocate for your best interests. They will gather additional evidence, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and work towards a fair settlement or verdict.
Pools can be a fun, relaxing way to enjoy the summer. By taking the proper precautions, we can all do so safely.