Summer temperatures in Utah can soar well above 110 degrees, sending droves of children and adults to Salt Lake City’s public pools and water parks. But while swimming is a great way to cool down, socialize, and get a little exercise, pools can also pose serious injury hazards when they aren’t adequately staffed or maintained. Sadly, safety issues like unqualified lifeguards and defective pool features cause preventable deaths and injuries in Utah every year. Certain demographics, like children and elderly individuals, are at an elevated risk of being killed or seriously hurt.
If you or one of your family members suffered an injury while swimming in Salt Lake City, or if you lost a loved one to a fatal drowning accident, you have a right to get answers for what happened. Depending on what caused the accident to occur, you and your loved ones could be entitled to compensation. With more than 33 years of experience representing personal injury and wrongful death victims in Salt Lake County, pool injury lawyer Jay Sheen is committed to holding negligent lifeguards, maintenance crews, and water parks accountable when their careless actions result in tragedy.
Jay is proud to serve Utahans throughout the Salt Lake City area, including West Valley City, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, West Jordan, South Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Bountiful, and Farmington. To schedule a free, confidential legal consultation with Jay, call the law offices of Overson & Sheen, LLC at (801) 618-3580 today.
Swimming and Water-Related Death and Injury Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 people die from accidental drowning every day, which means drowning claims roughly 3,650 lives every year. The risk of drowning increases when there is a lack of adequate pool barriers or trained lifeguards on duty.
While people of all ages are at risk for unintentional drowning, children and toddlers are especially prone. The CDC reports that roughly 20% of drowning victims are teenagers or children under the age of 14, while children aged one to four years old have the highest drowning rates of all age groups. For each child who drowns, another five will require emergency treatment for their injuries.
While drowning is the most serious danger associated with swimming, even non-fatal accidents can have devastating and permanent medical consequences for the victim. When a person is immersed underwater for long periods of time, the resulting deprivation of oxygen to the brain can result in severe complications similar to those caused by a traumatic brain injury. The victims of immersion injuries frequently suffer debilitating cognitive impairments, with the CDC citing “memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning” as some common examples.
These types of injuries devastate not only the victim, but also his or her loved ones, forever altering the lives of all parties involved. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim might lose their mobility, their independence, their ability to support themselves financially, their ability to participate in meaningful hobbies and relationships, and their loss of enjoyment of life.
Liability for Drowning Accidents: Pool Safety Regulations in UT
Utah Administrative Rule R392-302 deals with safety regulations for the design and operation of public pools, not only in Salt Lake City but throughout the state. These regulations dictate explicit and extremely specific design parameters for public pools going down to the smallest detail, including regulations for:
- Decks and Walkways
- Depth Markings
- Diving Areas
- Electrical Safety
- Filtration Systems
- Lifeguard Supervision
- Pool Fencing
- Pool Ladders
- Pool Sanitation
- Safety Ropes
Public pool owners who negligently fail to comply with these rules may be liable for any deaths or injuries which result, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Speaking generally, property owners have a duty to maintain properties which are free of hazards that could foreseeably kill or injure people who are not trespassing. This aspect of personal injury law is known as “premises liability.” If a pool owner is aware that a safety hazard like a defective drain system or cracked diving board exists or is developing, yet fails to take timely actions to isolate or repair the problem, the owner could potentially be held responsible for compensating the accident victim’s current and projected medical bills, income losses, and other expenses.
Of course, providing adequate upkeep and maintenance is not the only duty of pool and swim park owners. They are also responsible for other factors that impact the safety of guests and visitors, such as:
- Making sure that lifeguards are properly trained and qualified.
- Making sure that chemicals like chlorine and drain cleaner are sufficiently diluted to avoid causing chemical burns to swimmers.
- Making sure water depths are accurately marked.
- Making sure that appropriate signage is posted around the pool or swimming area.
Call a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Case
If you, your spouse, or one of your relatives was injured at a public pool or water park in the Salt Lake County area, call attorney Jay Sheen at (801) 618-3580 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. You may have a right to compensation for your losses.