Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 at 1:22 pm
San Antonio summers can get really hot. Of course everyone looks forward to the beginning of a new summer, especially if winter seems to have dragged on for far too long, but summer has its own drawbacks. One of these is drowning and near drowning accidents in swimming pools. This is mostly a problem that affects children, especially young children. Children love pools, but they are inherently dangerous if they are unsupervised. What happens if you let your friends’ or relatives’ kids into your own pool and for one reason or another there is a pool accident and someone is drowned or near drowned? Equally, it could be one of your own children who was injured in a swimming pool accident in someone else’s swimming pool. It could be a school pool, a city or municipal pool, a private pool or a friend’s pool.
How dangerous is swimming?
The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps statistics on accidents such as swimming pool accidents. Their figures show that 10 people die every day on average through the year across the U.S. Their figures also show that most of these deaths (and near deaths) happen to children under14.
The organization, Safe Kids Worldwide, reports that fatal swimming pool accidents, other than in swimming pools in places like reservoirs, rivers, ponds and lakes, are actually increasing. They report that 43% of drowning or near drowning cases among younger and teen aged children occur in open water environments while slightly less, 38%, occur in swimming pools. 150 families are affected by these sorts of accidents every week.
If an open water accident happens such as a near drowning or drowning, it may be harder to blame anyone except yourself as a parent, or the child itself, if he or she opted to swim alone in an uncontrolled area. However, in Texas, there are strict rules about swimming pools that are designed to prevent untimely swimming pool injuries and drowning. If these rules are not adhered to and a pool drowning, or near drowning, takes place, then there may be legitimate reasons for taking legal action. Of course, if it is your pool where the accident took place and a child not of your own was involved you may be the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit brought against you.
Texas State rules for swimming pool owners
Every privately owned swimming pool in Texas must be surrounded by a 4 foot barrier. The barrier must have no openings or gaps that are more than 4 inches wide. The pool must have a gate or gates that close automatically after use. They must be capable of being sealed off by a padlock, combination lock, keypad or key card. Where self-closing latches are fitted, they must be on the pool side of the gate and located on the upper quarter of the gate. The whole point of these rules, of course, is to ensure that the swimming pool is not accessed without permission and supervision.
Another state rule concerns swimming pools that are built in such a way that one side of the pool area is actually part of the house. If this is the case, an alarm must be installed on any doors or windows that open out on to the pool that sound if someone enters the pool area.
A small number of pools are built above ground and are accessed by ladders or steps. In these pools, the steps or ladders must be made inaccessible by a secure lock or removed when the pool is not in use.
State rules may be complemented by city or county specific rules concerning swimming pool safety.
Penalties for violating swimming pool rules
States and other authorities may impose daily fines on owners of swimming pools that do not match safety rules. In some case, these fines may amount to $1,000 a day.
In addition to fines, if an accident does happen in someone else’s swimming pool that doesn’t meet the standards described above, then the owner may be subject to a personal injury lawsuit brought by the parents of the children harmed in a pool accident.
If your child has suffered a near drowning incident and you strongly believe that the injury happened because of someone’s negligence or the accident happened because of negligence on the part of a government authority or a private organization, contact a San Antonio personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. You can make an appointment today by ringing the Patino Law Firm office in San Antonio on 833-210-4878.