Swimming Pools

Georgia Swimming Pool Injury Lawyers

When you think about cooling off during the dog days of summer, not many things look more appealing than the cool, clear blue water of a swimming pool shimmering under the sun.

As with most things that bring fun and adventure, there is also danger. Sadly, according to the Center for Disease Control, every day, approximately 10 people die from accidental drowning.  The CDC also reports:

  • One out of every five people who drown are age 14 or younger.
  • For each child who drowns, another five children are treated in the emergency room for injuries related to submersion.
  • Submersion injuries that do not result in death often cause serious brain injuries, resulting in long-term issues such as learning disabilities, memory issues, and a permanent comatose state.

If you have lost a loved one to accidental drowning or are facing long-term care for a loved one who suffered a submersion injury, it’s important to determine who is at fault and if there are damages you can recover as compensation for your loss or to cover the costs of long-term care. These types of personal injuries fall under premises liability law, an area where the swimming pool injury lawyers at the Wetherington Law Firm consistently assist their clients in determining who is responsible and aid them in recovering damages.

Swimming Pool Injuries: Common Causes

  • Little or no supervision
  • No warning signs -lack of depth markers and/or signs warning of shallow water (“no diving” signs)
  • Improper fencing
  • Equipment in poor condition such as ladders, no drain covers, lighting and diving boards
  • Poor construction or design
  • Improperly maintained chemical levels in the pool’s water

Premises Liability Law

Premises liability law covers injuries that occur on someone else’s property and is extremely fact intensive because each type of premises, from a grocery store to swimming pools, has its own body of law specifically related to each type of hazard that may be present.  Due to the complicated nature of these types of cases, we strongly encourage you to hire an experienced premises liability attorney to ensure your interests are protected.

Who Is Legally Responsible for Swimming Pool Injuries?

Quite simply, the owner of the pool is responsible – whether the owner is present or not, if they are somehow negligent. In Georgia, the owner’s responsibility is higher to those who are invited onto the property than those who are uninvited.  Georgia recognizes three types of visitors:

  1. Invitee
  2. Licensee
  3. Trespasser

Invitee:  A person who enters the premises with the express or implied consent of the owner. This extends to businesses too where any customer is considered an invitee.

Property owners owe the following duty (responsibility) to all invitees:

  • Inspect regularly for dangerous conditions;
  • Warn invitees of known and potential hazards; and
  • Repair any known hazards.

Swimming pool owners must make sure there is a fence around the pool with gates that lock from the inside and ensure children cannot access the property freely.

It is not enough to post signs warning others that they swim at their own risk to guarantee the owner is not liable for injuries occurring in their swimming pool.  This can hold true even for those who are not invited to the property.

Licensee: Georgia defines a licensee as someone who is not an employee, customer or trespasser; does not have any contractual relationship with the premise’s owner; and is allowed on the premises for their own enjoyment, benefit or convenience.

Examples of licensees include friends and family, unsolicited door-to-door salesmen, religious missionaries, and political campaigners.  Due to the similar definitions, Georgia employees a specific test to decide if the visitor is an invitee or a a licensee:

Did the injured person have a business relationship with the owner at the time of the injury that would cause the visitor’s presence to be beneficial to both the visitor and owner?  If not, the visitor is regarded as a licensee.

Trespasser: Those who enter a property without permission.  Trespassers are not owed any duty regarding the safe or unsafe condition of a property when they enter premises without knowledge of the owner or person in charge; unless the trespasser is a child. An owner’s only duty to a trespasser is to not inflict intentional harm to the trespasser.

Swimming Pools are an Attractive Nuisance

Premises liability law includes a concept called attractive nuisance, which is defined as: A dangerous condition on a landowner’s property that may attract children onto the land and may involve risk or harm to their safety. Because child trespassers may not appreciate the risks that the dangerous condition poses, landowners have the duty to either eliminate that danger or make it inaccessible to trespassing children.

Swimming pools and trampolines fit into this definition.

Georgia has developed the following test to determine whether a property owner or occupier can be held liable for injuries to a trespassing child:

  1. The place where the condition exists is one upon which the possessor knows or has reason to know that children are likely to trespass, and
  2. The condition is one of which the possessor knows or has reason to know and which he realizes or should realize will involve an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to such children, and
  3. The children because of their youth do not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in intermeddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it, and
  4. The utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children involved, and
  5. The possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children.

This test does not apply to children who are guests on the owner’s property.

Winning a Premises Liability Claim

Each type of case is unique, but all premises liability cases require the plaintiff to prove basic tort elements:

  1. The existence of a duty on the part of the defendant to protect the plaintiff;
  2. The failure of the defendant to perform that duty;
  3. Actual injuries; and
  4. Proof that the injuries were proximately caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Recoverable Damages in Swimming Pool Injuries

Premises liability law is part of a body of law called tort law.  The purpose of tort law is to determine monetary damages to injured parties as compensation for their injuries and to make them whole again. This means the system is flawed because freedom of pain, lives and limbs can never be fully restored.  Payment for damages is meant to restore the plaintiff to the same monetary position they were in prior to the injury or death of their loved one.

Two types of compensatory damages exist within the law – general damages and special damages. General damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and/or mental anguish, and have no specific monetary value. General damage amounts are determined by juries and are inconsistent from one jury to the next. A broken bone in one courtroom could receive $20,000 for pain and suffering, yet the same injury could receive $150,000 from a different jury for general damages.  Matt Wetherington tried a case in Fulton County that resulted in a $2.8 million verdict for a broken ankle.

Special damages cover documented losses that have a specific value, including lost wages, medical expenses, long-term care expenses and hiring help around the home to assist the injured party.

You Can Make a Lasting Difference in the Lives of Others by Hiring the Wetherington Law Firm

Obtaining full and complete compensation for our clients is the most important service we provide to our clients.  Protecting the general public and making sure that other people are protected is part of obtaining justice.  We frequently work with law enforcement, local government officials, state legislators, and federal agencies to understand the root cause of dangerous conditions.  This often leads to uncovering dangerous trends or patterns of behavior that must be changed.  Many of our clients have chosen not to be defined by their injuries, and instead choose to serve as a beacon of hope to others.  Whether through legislation, refusing to settle unless changes are made, or simply sharing their story, our clients’ efforts have helped save MILLIONS of people from serious injury or death.  If you can help prevent even one other person from being hurt or injured by the same problem, it will help make every day of your recovery a little bit better.  We care about you as a person and will work with you however you want to help make the world a safer and better place.  Call us now to get started.

 

Has Someone You Loved Been Injured In a Swimming Pool?

Call or email today for a free consultation.

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Why Hire Us?

Reputation matters. Our firm only pursues high value, meritorious lawsuits. The insurance companies may not like us, but they respect the work we do and results we obtain for our clients. When a case moves into litigation, the defense attorneys know that we have properly investigated the claims, know the applicable law, and are preparing the case for trial.

There is no risk when hiring our firm.

We do not charge attorney fees for obtaining property damage or medical payment coverage for our clients. Other firms charge for this service.

We have saved our clients millions simply by negotiating medical bills and fighting invalid medical liens.

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