Swimming Pool Accidents

Dedicated New Jersey Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers

Legal representation for victims and survivors of pool and spa accidents in NJ

Every  year, thousands of Americans are killed or injured in swimming pool and spa accidents. Sadly, many of these victims are young children, although people of any age are at risk for drowning or water-related injuries. Pool accidents can involve everything from slipping and falling on wet pavement to drowning injuries that lead to brain damage or death.

Swimming pool and spa accidents can leave a patient facing a long road to recovery and significant medical bills. If you or a loved one suffered a pool or spa injury due to someone else’s negligence, the premises liability attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can help. We serve clients throughout New Jersey from our offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River.

Swimming pool injury and fatality statistics

The National Safety Council reports that an average of 10 people die each day from drowning (excluding boating incidents). Other important stats around swimming pool injuries and accidents:

  • Between the months of January and May 2018, about 90 children under age 15 drowned in a pool or spa
  • In 2015, 351 children under age 15 died in pools or spas
  • ERs see about 6,400 children under age 15 for spa and pool injuries every year
  • Drownings are the second-leading cause of preventable death through age 15

PoolSafely.gov offers a variety of safety tips and information about pool and spa safety for children.

What are some common pool and spa injuries?

Wherever there is water, there is a risk of personal injury. Some of the more common injuries that occur in and around pools include:

  • Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Falls, diving accidents, defective ladders, unsafe pool covers: all of these can lead to spinal cord injuries, paralysis, or oxygen deprivation which results in traumatic brain injury and damage.
  • Electric shock and electrocution. Improper grounding or poorly maintained wiring and electrical circuits can electrify metal railings, ladders, and diving boards, leading to shock or death by electrocution. Built-in lights or other electrical elements can also pose a serious danger. If the electrical work was faulty by design, or if installers made a mistake, they could be held liable.
  • Diving injuries. These often occur when a person jumps head-first into the shallow end of a pool. Diving risks can be mitigated with appropriate signage and warnings, as well as proper supervision.
  • Drowning or submersion injuries. Younger children face the greatest risk of drowning or near-drowning. These risks are increased when there is a lack of supervision, safety equipment or proper warnings, or overcrowded pools. Always ensure children are supervised around pools and spas, and that you know how to proceed in the event of an emergency.
  • Slips and falls. There is a slip-and-fall risk anywhere there is water, including pools and spas. These areas should be properly lit and clear, with visible warnings about slippery areas. Pool owners should also ensure there is no pool equipment lying around that could be a tripping hazard.
  • Unsafe product injuries. Defective pool and spa products and mechanisms can cause serious injury or death. Children can get entangled in pool cleaning equipment or defective pool toys. Defective pool or spa drains can also trap a child underwater. Product manufacturers have a responsibility to warn consumers about potential dangers.
  • Improper design and maintenance. The design of the pool and the areas surrounding it can also lead to injuries. Poorly maintained walkways or concrete can cause trips and falls; so can unattended toys and skimmers. If your filter is not set to the side or covered, children can suffer harm if they run into it, or if they try to hang off the PVC piping. The physical design of some pools may also create risks for entrapment or drowning, too – especially if there are special features (like waterfalls or built-in slides) or missing ladders.

The attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can talk to you about your accident and find out who or what caused your injuries.

How do swimming pool and spa accidents happen?

The majority of pool and spa accidents and injuries are preventable, which makes it all the more tragic when they happen. Often, simple signage, barriers and proper supervision is enough to prevent most accidents. Additionally, if you have a pool or plan to spend time at a pool, ensure all members of your family can swim and understand water safety.

Common causes of swimming pool accidents include:

  • Failure in supervision. The majority of child drownings happen due to inadequate supervision, whether from a parent, caregiver, or lifeguard.
  • Inability to swim. Parents and guardians can drastically reduce the risk of drowning and water-related injuries by signing up young children for swimming lessons. Children as young as one year old can begin formal swimming lessons.
  • Inadequate warnings and safety measures. Swimming pools, especially residential, should have an appropriate barrier around it, like a fence. Pool owners have a responsibility to keep their pool safe, as it can count as an “attractive nuisance.” Pools should also have “no diving” signs when applicable, and ladders for above ground pools should be locked and inaccessible when not in use.
  • Pool equipment malfunction. Defective drains or pool equipment can cause an adult or child to become trapped at the bottom of a pool or spa, leading to catastrophic or fatal injury.
  • Safety element failure. In addition to fencing, other safety features like pool covers, gates, and alarms can reduce the risk of drownings and injuries. Many drownings and accidents occur right in the backyard and the child was only missing for a few minutes.

Our injury attorneys will sit down with you to talk about your case, and investigate to find out exactly why your accident occurred, and what parties may be liable for your injuries.

Does New Jersey law require pools be fenced in?

Yes, it does. William’s Law requires residential pool owners to follow certain regulations regarding pool safety. These include:

  • Swimming pools must be enclosed entirely by a fence, barrier, or wall at least five feet tall. Further, the barrier should not be able to fit a spherical object four inches in diameter through any openings.
  • This barrier should be secured by a padlock or similar device with a latch at least 54 inches above the ground.
  • Failure to do so can result in a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to 500 dollars. However, these penalties can be redacted if the owner fixes the issue within 45 days.

William’s Law states that “the widespread use of pool fencing would prevent 50 to 90 percent of pediatric pool drownings and near-drownings.”

Who is liable when someone is injured or drowns in a pool?

After a swimming pool or spa accident, insurance carriers may blame the victim in an attempt to deny liability. However, under premises liability law, pool owners or municipalities can be responsible for injuries or fatalities if the injured person was invited or allowed on the property, and/or if the property owner failed to property maintain or safeguard their pool.

Examples of negligence can include:

  • Lack of or improper safety fencing to keep young children from entering the pool area
  • Inadequate pool supervision
  • Lack of emergency safety equipment (life preservers, etc.)
  • Failure to provide warnings and signage, like “Swim at your own risk” or “No diving”
  • Failure to maintain the pool and surrounding area, which can lead to slip-and-fall accidents

If you were injured or if a family member drowned in an indoor or outdoor swimming pool accident, in a hot tub, or at a private or public beach in New Jersey, you may have the right to receive compensation from responsible parties such as:

  • A swimming pool maintenance company
  • Any organization responsible for providing lifeguard services
  • Property management
  • The property owner

According to New Jersey law, a property owner may be held accountable for a dangerous condition on a property. Therefore, do not be surprised if an insurance claims adjuster makes an offer of compensation to you right away. You will likely be asked to sign a waiver that you will not sue for more, in order to cash the check.

The injury attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, urges you to discuss your case with a knowledgeable NJ premises liability lawyer before negotiating or agreeing to a settlement. With offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, we offer free initial consultations, and we welcome your phone call or email. We represent individuals in premises liability lawsuits and insurance claims throughout New Jersey.

How our New Jersey law firm can help

Rest assured that we carefully screen potential premises liability cases. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on behalf of clients since opening our doors more than 20 years ago, including significant settlements and jury verdicts in lawsuits involving premises liability claims. We only accept those for which we are convinced we can win greater compensation for our clients than what they could negotiate on their own.

We have no intention of dragging you through a lawsuit that is destined to be a waste of time. If our premises liability lawyers believe that you are better off negotiating your own settlement with an insurer, we will honestly disclose that during your no-obligation initial consultation.

Contact experienced NJ swimming pool and spa accident attorneys today

Draw on our experience as you decide how to move forward financially and legally after a drowning, near-drowning or diving accident. From offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, the lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP are available to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death litigation matter. Call our qualified NJ premises liability lawyers at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to request a free consultation.