Swimming Pool Drain Accident
Pool and spa drains can be extremely dangerous, especially if they are old or broken. They can suck in small children, pets, and even adults who accidentally fall into the pool.
Unfortunately, most people don't realize how quickly these accidents happen because it takes just seconds for someone to get sucked under the water by a swimming pool or spa drain.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims harmed by another's negligence. For example, we understand that many resorts fail to provide adequate supervision and lifeguards, especially when children are using the pool.
Call a Chicago drowning attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
On a sweltering summer day, going swimming in a pool can make any day better. However, the last thing you want to think about is what would happen if you or a loved one had an accident in the pool.
Unfortunately, swimming pools can be hazardous and result in injuries when touching the pool or spa drain. An injury might be especially catastrophic if a pool drain is broken or unguarded.
According to the CDC, over 30 deaths have been reported from swimming pool drain accidents since 1990!
The best way to avoid drowning is through proper safety precautions, such as installing a new cover on your swimming pool drain that has been designed specifically for use with pools of all shapes and sizes.
These covers include an anti-entrapment system that will shut off the vacuum effect within milliseconds after being opened, so you won't have to worry about any accidental injuries while using your swimming pool again!
What Causes Pool Drain Injuries?
Broken or deteriorated drain coverings are frequently to blame for swimming pool drain accidents, which can expose the drain's vacuum effect to those in the pool. Suction is required for this filter. Pool water must be filtered and cleaned through it.
The terrific suction obtained from a toilet clogged with feces may be difficult to get away from once one is exposed to or breaks a leaking drain. It's impossible to escape from the trap because of the considerable pressure generated by such an obstruction.
Common dangerous entrapment causes and injuries involving pool drains include:
- Body entrapment: Significant injury to one or more limbs
- Head entrapment: Burns, lacerations, and brain damage
- Back entrapment: Sustains significant bodily harm to back, including spinal cord injuries
- Arm entrapment: Great risk of limb loss if not immediately removed from the suction
- Leg entrapment: Intense pain due to the body being pulled down by the drain
- Hair entrapment: Severity of bodily harm depends on the type of hair, length, and surrounding circumstances
- Foreign object entrapment: An object is caught in the drainage cover, it may be difficult to remove the object without proper tools
Determining Fault for Pool Drain Accidents and Injuries
Under the 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, the federal law was enacted requiring all pools and spas to be fitted with anti-entrapment devices on each drainage cover.
The Act also provides for state or local regulation of pool drainage system safety, but only if the states adopt insurance requirements that fulfill 7 out of 11 federal criteria.
The owner of a swimming pool not built before 2008 without an automatic draining system is required by law to warn others about drowning dangers associated with unguarded drains.
Even though laws exist to protect swimmers from these types of accidents, property owners may still face a liability claim in a wrongful death accident resulting in injuries or fatalities due to an unsafe pool drain cover.
A powerful case can be made against negligent property owners using expert witness testimony to show that the property owner failed to protect visitors in their homes.
What About Personal Injury Claims?
Were you or someone in your family injured in a pool drain accident? If so, it is important to hire an attorney who can assist with your case and let you know whether you can recover damages depending on your specific situation.
One example of how an injury claim might be pursued successfully would be if one's child became trapped by suction forces while sticking her head into the swimming pool filter, which resulted in brain damage due to lack of oxygen supply.
It is because children are at risk of becoming entrapped when put into awkward positions. But, again, a personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case against the pool owner or other liable parties.
Preventing Pool Drain Accidents
The start of summer is marked by the unofficial Act of jumping into a swimming pool. It is something that people of all ages look forward to every year. However, before diving in, it's important to remember some safety concerns.
Pool drain clogging is a lot more common than we think, and it frequently results in severe swimming pool drain blockages. As a result, a person becomes trapped in a pool drain's pull due to the suction. It happens when a pool drain is missing or broken, and small, light swimmers are particularly susceptible to entrapment.
Here are some precautions for avoiding drain blockages:
Purchase a Quality Pool Drain Cover
The first line of defense against water damage is a good drain cover to fix or replace missing drain covers. Covers are also necessary by law in all public pools because of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act passed in 2008.
Anyone visiting community swimming pools is not required to use anti-entrapment drain covers, although this does not apply to private pool owners.
Before You Enjoy the Pool, Remove Any Loose Items
Swimming pool drain blockages are sometimes caused by mechanical entrapment. When a person's jewelry, loose clothing, or any other loose items get caught in the suction of a pool drain, it is known as mechanical entrapment.
Remove anything that could get caught in or on a pool drain.
Never Dive, Jump, or Play Around a Drain
Many of the most common pool drain blockages happen when someone dives headfirst into a pool, especially if the pool is on a slope.
In many cases, this causes suction entrapment of arms and head. In addition, if the pool does not have a drain cover, it can cause severe injuries due to the sharp edges of an uncovered drain.
Remember that children and swimmers who are light in weight may be susceptible to drowning and other pool drain-related injuries.
Be Careful When Getting Out of the Pool
When a person gets out of the pool, they should avoid slipping and falling near a drain, especially important in areas where there are large drains on floors near drain openings.
Also, avoid wearing or carrying loose items that can drop into or become entangled with the pool drain opening.
Replacing Your Old Pool Drain With a Safety Cover
When you use your swimming pool, it is important to ensure that its drains are working appropriately.
Swimming pool drain covers should be installed if a pool has a suction force of over 2 feet of water. A safety cover ensures that there will be no suction force so long as the cover is in place.
Tie Your Long Hair Up
Hair entrapment is another common swimming pool accident problem. While most individuals do not consider their hair a hazard for a pool drain, the suction may pull you headfirst into a drain at higher speeds and with greater force than you realize, which can result in significant brain injuries, drowning, or other difficulties.
Inform Swimmers to the Dangers of Drains
Swimming in the pool without getting trapped by a drain is relatively safe. But, of course, this necessitates that you be always aware of your surroundings and position in the pool.
When your midsection gets caught in the drain's vacuum, it can lead to torso entrapment. Torso entrapment happens when your midsection gets trapped in the drain's suction.
When playing in the pool, remember that some pool toys may be sucked into the drain. When retrieving a pool toy near a drain, there's an increased danger of suffering a swimming drain accident.
Install a Quality Safety Vacuum Release
Even if you do everything possible to safeguard yourself and others who swim in your pool, the danger of a swimming pool drain accident is always present.
Pool vacuums are the most effective safeguards a pool owner can have. When something is blocking the drain, the pump immediately switches off automatically.
What Are My Legal Options?
Swimming pool drains are required by law to have adequate safety features. Because of their inherently dangerous nature, every precaution should ensure that drains are secure and safe for swimmers. As the result of a pool drain accident, many individuals are left with serious injuries.
If you suffered serious injuries due to a swimming pool drain malfunction, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim.
When they suffer pool drain entrapment, individuals can sustain painful cuts and lacerations. There are also cases in which people have sustained dislocated shoulders or broken bones.
When swimming pool accidents like these occur, the result can be immense pain or even death.
The people who are responsible for pool drain malfunctions should be held accountable. The law will hold the pool owners responsible for the damages because they failed to keep the pool safe. If the pool's owner is a homeowner, then liability may fall on their insurance company to pay the victim's medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Long-Term Health Problems Non-Fatal Pool Drain Accidents
Those who survive swimming pool accidents caused by non-compliant or faulty drain covers may face lifelong medical problems. In many cases, these problems result in millions of dollars in medical expenditures, necessitate patients to live with around-the-clock medical care, and pool drains that are clogged or damaged can create a strong suction, which may suffocate a swimmer who approaches the drain too closely.
Within just five to ten minutes of oxygen deprivation, serious and irreversible brain damage is possible. It's not unusual to hear of people who have been held underwater for a long period sustaining life-altering injuries.
Many individuals who suffer brain injuries because of lack of oxygen cannot return to their prior way of life. Some may not be able to care for themselves independently.
The following are some of the more serious consequences of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation:
- Can cause limb and balance difficulties, coordination issues, and movement disorders.
- Spasticity, stiffness, tremor, and involuntary movements are symptoms that individuals with anoxic brain damage may experience.
- Many individuals injured in pool drain accidents develop vision problems because of their restricted oxygen supply, especially concentrated in the brain's visual centers.
- Executive function abilities, such as comprehending sophisticated information, making decisions, and reasoning – people with executive function difficulties might struggle to plan and work in social or professional situations.
- A lack of oxygen to the brain's hormone-regulating structures may cause harm. When it happens, it can lead to issues like dry skin, weight gain, hypotension (low blood pressure), decreased sexual desire, and body temperature abnormalities.
Because these difficulties can last a lifetime and significantly impact daily life, victims are typically entitled to large compensation. Therefore, anyone who has been injured as a result of a pool drain cover failure should contact an attorney immediately.
Negligent Pool Owners and Pool Drain Cover Accidents
For victims of pool drain cover accidents to be compensated, they must first determine who is at fault. Here are a few examples:
- The pool owner was aware that the drain cover they were using was non-compliant.
- The pool owner was aware of the drain cover problem and used it anyhow, despite the defect.
- The pool owner did not conduct the required maintenance on the drain cover, which might have revealed the damage.
- The pool owner used the incorrect size or kind of drain cover for the pool or drain.
These are only a few of the ways that a pool owner's negligence might result in the loss of your home. Even if the swimming pool accident appears to be unavoidable or caused by the victim's error, victims should have their circumstances always reviewed by a lawyer.
Injuries that May Result From an Accident Involving a Pool or Hot Tub Drain
You always expect your pool to be a relaxing and fun way to cool off and play during the summer months. But, unfortunately, some swimming pools prove to be ticking time bombs that can cause serious injury to your young children when they become trapped at the bottom due to drain suction.
A defective swimming pool drain can cause the entrapment of a child under the surface of the water if their hair gets sucked into the water intake. Other problems arise if the drain creates intense suction when the child's body covers it to pull their body down against the pool floor. These swimming pool accidents typically result in drowning, injuries that require immediate hospitalization, or death.
Accidents that are the result of faulty pool drains may have life-changing effects on the injured. The severe brain damage caused following an extended period without oxygen can leave the person in a coma or render them mentally retarded for the rest of their life.
Death is often the result if the victim is not found in time or the incident happens while they are in the pool alone. Pool safety can often be improved by improving the design of pool drains or replacing broken or outdated drain systems, and when these steps are not taken, the pool owner can be held liable by Illinois law.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Hold a Negligent Pool Owner Legally Accountable
A qualified personal injury law firm will be able to review your case to determine whether the pool drain that caused you or your loved one's accident was defective and tell you more about your legal options regarding the matter.
A swimming pool drain accident at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can best represent your needs after giving your case a free evaluation. Your attorney will be knowledgeable and experienced in Illinois swimming pool law. Moreover, the attorney will have access to medical experts who will be able to accurately place a value on the cost of the medical care you or your loved one will require as a result of your injury.
Contact a swimming pool accident attorney to schedule a free consultation today — if you cannot come to us, a lawyer can travel to you. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you are awarded the compensation that you deserve, and if we are unable to win or settle your case, our services are free of charge.