A child drowning or near-drowning accident is a horribly traumatic and devastating time for a family. More often than not, drownings and near drowning incidents are almost always preventable. Property owners have an affirmative duty to protect visitors against foreseeable dangers by inspecting and maintaining pool fences, gates and locks in good working order to prevent unauthorized or unsupervised use of hotel pools, residential pools and spas.
Children’s drowning accidents may be caused by several things, including the negligence of individuals entrusted with a child’s care or the negligence of owners of establishments in which bodies of waters are located, or defects in pools in which children swim.
People that own pools have a duty to protect children – their own and of others – by inspecting and maintaining pool fences, gates and locks in good working order to prevent unauthorized or unsupervised use of pools. This means not only locking doors and patio doors, gates and any access to a pool but also keeping them in a state of good and reasonable repair. Public pool operators also need to abide by the same standard. They must, in addition, inspect and properly maintain pool or hot tub drain covers, hire qualified life guards, post warning signs, as well as provide appropriate life saving equipment.
If you have lost a loved one in a drowning accident in a public facility, like municipal pool or provincial beach; a commercial facility, like large waterslide type attraction, a hotel pool, health club pools, spas or a private swimming pool – call our Hamilton drowning accident lawyers and learn your legal rights today. You may be entitled to compensation.
Recent trends in the Canadian aquatic industry have included a move away from deeper water. Recreation departments in many provinces are renovating swimming pools and eliminating water in excess of four feet deep. Similarly, hotels, public pools and resort waterparks are being built with a focus on shallow water. Our Ontario drowning accident lawyers would suggest that this increases, rather than lessens, the chance of injury.
Diving into water that is less than four feet deep is difficult to accomplish safely. Impact with the bottom or side of a swimming pool can result in trauma to the head and spine. Death, quadriplegia, and paraplegia can result.
Shallow water can also lead to a false sense of security and less attention focused on kids who may panic and ingest water or be unable to upright themselves once they become prone in a pool. Even adults may find entry into a shallow body of water challenging if it comes at the end of a slide. Nonswimmers struggle with balance versus buoyancy and many adults have needed to be rescued from four-feet deep swimming pools when they couldn’t get their legs underneath them and their heads above water.
Wave pools are a hazard, but remain a big draw for kids. Water depth in wave pools is not overly constant constant. One moment people are standing in a two-foot deep section of the pool. The next moment, a wave has dumped over their heads and driven them into other patrons or into the pavement.
Body surfing is a big attraction at resort wave pools, and some wave riders flaunt their abrasions like badges of honor. Waves that are strong enough to carry a body surfer forward forty feet are strong enough to cause debilitating injuries when patrons slam into each other. Contusions, concussions, and compound fractures can be expected when unprepared people collide.
Employees at resort waterparks face challenges created by conflicting directives. Lifeguards are tasked with the double duty of protecting and pleasing patrons. Giving away free room nights to unhappy hotel guests flies in the face of the increased revenue that resort waterparks are supposed to produce. Lifeguards who are used to relying on their whistles to grab the attention of the crowd and single out rule breakers at municipal pools may be restricted in the use of this tool at resort waterparks. Likewise the facility may serve alcohol to guests at poolside increasing the chance of unruly and dangerous behavior.
The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes duties on home owners and owners of pools and hot tubs and other bodies of water to take reasonable care to protect children (and all visitors) and ensure that precautions are taken to ensure that their visitors are reasonably safe and protected. The duty is an affirmative one, which, in drowning cases, will no doubt mean that a person in charge of a pool or other bodies of water should have procedural safeguards to protect their visitors (and unwanted visitors) from foreseeable harm. If a homeowner is negligent in keeping the pool area safe and inaccessible, or he fails to supervise children in his pool, then he could be liable for injuries suffered in or around the pool.
In addition, owners of swimming pools or hot tubs on private property, including apartment complexes and condominium associations are likewise required to protect against foreseeable risks by taking appropriate safety measures to prevent accidental child drownings and may be held liable for failing to do so by maintaining:
A child that suffers a non-fatal submersion injury that results in a brain injury may require lifelong critical care. It is imperative that a timely filing of a case follows the near-death accident to ensure that there will be available funds for the future recovery and rehabilitation of the pool accident victim. Fault and liability issues in swimming pool accident cases can be complex and challenging.
If you have lost a loved in in a pool drowning accident, our Hamilton Lawyers serving Ontario will carefully investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death to determine the level of negligence on the part of the property owner or another party caused the accident. Our Hamilton lawyers are dedicated to helping you obtain justice and compensation for the losses you have suffered. Please call us at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours. Consultations are free and we will never ask you for money upfront.