Georgians know that one of the best escapes for a hot summer day is to enjoy time in a swimming pool. Unfortunately, this relaxing summer activity can easily turn deadly. Georgia drowning deaths have continuously increased since 2013, and Georgia ranks as one of the top 5 states for drowning fatalities as recently as 2017.
Accidents from lack of supervision at a pool or improper pool safety are classic negligence cases. This article provides an overview of swimming pool liability in Georgia and offers some important safety tips.
Though drowning is the primary concern when it comes to swimming pool accidents, other accidents may also result in very serious injuries. Near-drowning accidents can result in terrible tragedies such as submersion injuries and oxygen starvation to the brain. Significant oxygen deprivation can result in traumatic brain injuries and brain death.
Drowning-related disabilities are life-changing in multiple ways. Medical costs for patients of this magnitude can hit $180,000 per year. If there is permanent brain damage, the bills can reach $4.5 million over that person's lifespan.
Diving into shallow water can also result in serious harm to the spinal cord or brain. These injuries can cause permanent damage that affects a person's cognitive abilities, language center, motor skills and many other functions. Neurological function will also be impaired, ranging from the ability to breathe, to partial or complete paralysis.
If you or a loved one was injured in a swimming pool accident, a negligence claim is typically possible in order to recover damages. Though a lifeguard may have been at fault, the owner of the pool is typically the main defendant in the case.
A negligence lawsuit in Georgia requires that your attorney prove the following:
This criteria is typically satisfied provided that you were lawfully using the pool and not trespassing.
This is satisfied by showing that the owner did something that the average, reasonable person would consider unsafe. Leaving children unsupervised, not marking the shallow side of a pool or not safely locking up a pool are all common examples of negligent acts.
In short, this criteria is satisfied if the pool owner or manager’s actions were the direct cause of the accident. This is the trickiest element to prove as fault also comes into play. If, for example, you were at the pool and weren’t paying attention to your child when an accident occurred, you may be assigned a degree of fault. Because Georgia is a comparative fault state, your actions must less than 50% to blame for the accident for you to recover damages.
This criteria is also met easily as you’re likely suing the pool owner or manager to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages.
Swimming pools pose an additional liability risk to all pool owners in Georgia. Under Georgia law, swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” to children. Little children, even trespassing children, require protection from accessing and falling into your pool. Thus, a pool owner is likely to be deemed negligent if their pool doesn’t have a locked fence, pool cover or any other means to protect easy access when an accident occurs.
In order to still be able to enjoy the pool on a beautiful Georgia day, here are some tips for a safer pool environment:
Below are some important additional pool safety resources to help keep your loved ones safe:
We hope these resources allow you to own a pool or swim without worry. In the meantime, if you need to speak with an attorney, try the Enjuris Georgia law firm directory.
Enjuris now partners with Pool Safely to help prevent child drownings
Pool Safely is a national public education campaign from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Learn more about how Enjuris and Pool Safely help make water play and summer fun safer for families!