Michigan Swimming Pool Injuries and Deaths: Know Your Rights
As summer continues, it is important to remember the sobering statistic that nine people drown in the United States every day. When paired with another statistic, that drowning is the second most common cause of death by accidental injury among children under 14 years old, it shows how unfortunately common drowning cases can be. However, if you are struggling with how to proceed after someone you love has been affected by a pool-related injury or death, a personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you better understand how the legal system surrounding these injuries and deaths.
Different types of pool accidents
Even if a parent or a lifeguard are supervising a child, the child can still be injured or even killed while in the pool. This can happen due to breaking pool rules by engaging in activities such as running on the pool deck or horseplay with other children, but many swimming pool hazards emerge from a lack of maintenance.
These maintenance hazards can include a slippery deck, inaccurately marked depth signs, and improper filtering and chemical treatment of the pool. Drain entrapment is also a relatively common hazard that can cause a number of different swimming pool injuries.
When it comes to liability, if an injury or death occurs due to a hazard created by a lack of maintenance, the family of the injured or deceased party can hold the owner of the pool responsible for the damages. The pool owner can also be held liable if the lack of safety features such as appropriate lighting, an emergency poolside phone, or a fence designed to keep unsupervised children out of the water causes an injury or a death.
Sometimes an accident is not due to a lack of pool maintenance, but instead to the negligence of the lifeguard on duty at the time of the incident. If a public swimming pool fails to have a lifeguard or a sufficient amount of lifeguards on duty, the owner of the pool can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur due to this lack of supervision.
Many experts agree that brain damage can occur in an individual who is unwillingly submerged underwater after about 20 seconds, so if the lifeguard or lifeguards on duty fail to notice someone struggling to stay afloat after about 10 seconds, they may be too late to prevent brain damage or further consequences. If a public pool does have the sufficient amount of lifeguards for the pool’s respective size, but the lifeguards are not performing their job to the correct standard and do not stop an accident from occurring, then the plaintiff will still have a viable basis to file a claim.
Private vs. public pool liability
In a public pool, swimmers can be injured due to circumstances such as slippery pool decks or floors, bad pool marking or design, lack of adequate supervision or safety measures, and more. Legislation in Michigan regulates the use, operation, and even construction of public pools. In most injury or wrongful death cases involving public pools, the owners of the pools will be held liable.
In a private pool in Michigan, the responsibility also falls mostly on the owner. Many municipalities set regulations for barriers around private pools, and these regulations may be incorporated into building codes. Private pools should be well-maintained and reasonable effort should be made to restrict access to the pool.
When it comes to trespassing, the law gets a little trickier. In most cases, injuries that happen to trespassers in private pools are not the responsibility of the owner. However, the exception to this rule is if children trespass, because a private pool can be classified as an attractive nuisance and should be protected from wandering children.
If you or a loved one has been affected by an accident involving a swimming pool in Michigan, contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to book a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.