Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and entertainment for the entire family. However, at the same time, swimming pools can be incredibly dangerous. Every year, hundreds of people are injured and killed because of swimming pool accidents. Many of these victims, sadly, are young children.
Even when swimming pool accidents aren’t fatal, the consequences can still be devastating. Injuries can follow a child for the rest of their life. That’s why the steps you take in the minutes, hours, and days after an accident involving a swimming pool matter.
Here are five things you should absolutely keep in mind if you or a loved one is involved in a swimming pool accident.
Get to the Doctor or Hospital Immediately
Prompt medical care is critical for anyone who has been involved in a swimming pool accident. This is particularly true for children and victims who were submerged in the water for an extended period of time. Getting to a hospital right away reduces the risk of severe, potentially life-threatening complications.
Report the Accident to Local Authorities
While you might not want to call the cops on your friends, family, or neighbors, it’s important to make sure that the accident is reported and documented. A police officer can be dispatched to the scene of the accident to conduct a preliminary investigation and write up a report.
This report can help to make sure that important details relevant to the accident are preserved. You might not remember what the weather was like or the time of day when the accident occurred. However, a police report will typically reflect this kind of information.
Document the Scene of the Accident Immediately
When someone has a swimming pool on their premises – whether it’s a hotel, apartment complex, or private homeowner – they have a responsibility to protect guests from foreseeable harm. Taking certain steps can help to reduce the risk of accidents and keep guests safe.
For example, someone who has a swimming pool would want to ensure that the motor and pump are functioning properly and that the pool is fenced off to prevent unintended guests from falling in. Sadly, many swimming pool accidents occur because property owners fail to take the steps that are necessary to keep their premises safe.
When you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool accident on someone else’s property, you might have a legitimate claim for damages. In order for a claim or lawsuit to be successful, you’ll have to prove that you (or your child) got hurt because the pool’s owner was negligent in some way. Gathering evidence before it has a chance to disappear can make or break your case.
So, after an accident, try to take photos of the swimming pool and the surrounding area. You should concentrate on the location where the injury occurred. Look for puddles of water, loose wires or cords, missing fence, and swimming toys and flotation devices. Document as much as possible. Your attorney can review the photos at a later time and determine if you’ve caught any proof of negligence on tape.
Don’t Admit Fault or Talk About the Accident
After an accident, the best rule of thumb is to keep quiet. Don’t apologize if you think that you’re (at least partly) to blame for the accident. Homeowners, property owners, and insurance companies will try to use an apology – however innocent – to deny liability. If you sustain severe injuries, you might want to pursue compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, if you admit fault, you could undercut your ability to get a financial award.
So, what should you do? Answer any basic questions you’re asked, but don’t expand and offer details. Direct any detailed or invasive questions to your attorney. Refuse the urge to accept a settlement offer, especially if it’s extended shortly after you or a loved one gets hurt. You want to know for sure that any offer you accept will cover all of the costs of your accident. That takes time and a little bit of outside assistance.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Some law firms handle almost any case that walks through the door. They’ll negotiate contracts, defend clients against criminal charges, and handle personal injury claims. Your swimming pool accident is too important to entrust to anyone who is not focused solely on personal injury law. When law firms only represent accident victims, they’ll have experience and knowledge that can directly benefit you. That can put you in the best possible position to secure a substantial monetary award.