Swimming pools are a deadly attractive nuisance that claims an average of 390 lives each year. Young children are at greatest risk and nationwide drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. In fact, 76% of drowning deaths in the US involve children under the age of 5. When an individual drowns or is injured in a private swimming pool at a home or apartment, the property owner can be held liable for personal injuries or wrongful death.
Data collected by the CDC shows that out of every four children that drown in private pools, five more receive treatment in an emergency room. Moreover, 47% of these injuries take place in pools located at private homes or apartments. The reasons private pools are so dangerous include the facts that lifeguards or individuals trained in CPR are rarely present and children are often left unattended while they are swimming.
Drowning deprives the brain and organ systems of the oxygen they need to function. This can cause permanent disabilities including long-term learning difficulties and mobility issues. Even prompt treatment from qualified emergency medical personnel does not guarantee that these outcomes can be avoided. The cost of long-term treatment and care for survivors of drowning injuries can range between $250,000 – $5.5 million over the course of the individual’s lifetime depending on the severity of the injury that was sustained. This includes the cost of therapy, adaptive aids, monitoring, as well as loss of income and quality of life.
Pool owners in Illinois are required to take reasonable measures to protect the public from attractive nuisances including swimming pools. Under the doctrine of premises liability, pool owners in Illinois can be held liable for not installing adequate fencing and security measures such as locking gates and alarm systems to prevent unauthorized access to the swimming pool.
Further, pool owners are also responsible for the injuries their pool may cause to invited guests. For example, the property owner allows young children to use the pool during a BBQ and then fails to supervise the children while they are swimming. Should an individual drown or suffer an injury, a personal injury attorney in Illinois can help establish the chain of events that led to the accident and the individual(s) responsible for causing the injury.