Swimming Pool Lawyers Can Help With More Than You First Anticipated
With the temperature currently around 28°C in Ottawa, swimming pools are crossing most families’ minds right now. Whether it’s enjoying a public swimming pool, a neighbour’s backyard pool or a pool deck of your own, seasonal swimming is not only great exercise but a refreshing way to beat the summer heat.
Lazy days by the pool aren’t without serious personal injury risks though. Between April 2011 and July 2021, there were 918 drowning-related cases reported in selected emergency departments across Canada. 65% of these reported drowning cases occurred during summer months and the majority (55%) of drownings occurred in swimming pools in both residential and public settings.  53% of these cases involved children and infants aged 4 or younger.
Drownings aren’t the only danger associated with swimming pools, however. Carry on reading this blog to learn how swimming pool lawyers can help with more than you first anticipated.
What Types Of Incidents Can Swimming Pool Lawyers Help With?
Swimming pool lawyers will start by assessing where a particular swimming pool accident took place. This informs the type of legal action that follows. Let’s start by assessing public swimming pools. In MG Law’s experience, there are several factors leading to accidents and injuries in a public setting. Almost all the time, these are based on human error.
A Lack Of Or Insufficient Safety Equipment And Measures In Place
It’s more than reasonable to expect that public swimming pools properly maintain the area for safety. This includes installing slippery when wet signs, having properly installed pool ladders, and having the pool depth explicitly marked on shallow and deep ends, and everywhere in between. When swimming pool accidents occur where these measures are lacking, there’s grounds for a liability claim.
A Lack Of Or Insufficient Supervision For The Swimmers’ Present
There may also be grounds for a liability claim when there’s a lack of or insufficient supervision for the number of swimmers’ present. Often, lifeguards are deployed based on the number of swimmers using a public swimming pool. On vacation, you might notice that some hotel swimming pools aren’t manned by a lifeguard at all. Signage will denote this fact but in larger public swimming pools, you’d expect these to be manned by professional lifeguards with a strict rotation timetable in place.
Damaged Or Defective Diving Boards Or Swimming Pool Access Steps
Much like point one, defective equipment can also provide plaintiffs and their swimming pool lawyers the grounds to pursue a swimming pool accident claim. Pool users should expect a pool facility to properly maintain and replace aging equipment such as defective diving boards or swimming pool access steps.
A Lack Of Or Insufficient Fencing Around A Swimming Pool Area
Exact pool fencing regulations tend to vary but generally, they follow the specifications outlined in the International Building Code Section 305, entitled pool “barrier requirements”.  In short, outdoor, and indoor swimming pools should be surrounded by an adequately constructed fence. The aim of these barriers is to reduce the likelihood of accidental drownings. Where visitors are minors or impaired, trespassing without a barrier in place can result in tragic drownings.
Negligence From Other Swimming Pool Users
When visiting a public swimming pool, don’t forget that other pool users may cause you undue harm too. It doesn’t matter if a public pool has a fun slide or not. Activities of sliding, diving, and bombing all involve high speed and force. When pool users don’t practice adequate care and consideration for others, collisions occur. These can result in concussion and spinal cord injury for innocent pool users caught in the crossfire.
Who Is At Fault If You’re Injured At A Public Swimming Pool?
Here in Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act governs that swimming pool owners have a legal obligation to keep their premises reasonably safe. 
3. (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty of care to take such care as in all circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.
3. (2) The duty of care provided for in subsection (1) applies whether the danger is caused by the condition of the premises or by an activity carried on while on the premises.
These set of laws determine who, if anybody, is liable when a particular condition, as discussed earlier, or use of a particular premises causes an injury.
What Can Private Pool Owners Do To Avoid Swimming Pool Accidents?
So far, this blog has discussed public swimming pool accidents, but what about accidents closer to home? Private pools are a great investment for many Canadian families, but only when they’re maintained properly.
Again, Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act governs that private pool owners have a legal obligation to protect their guests from harm while visiting their homes. It’s true that homeowners can be found liable and held responsible for any injuries or death that may take place in or around your pool area.
Safety precautions homeowners can take to ensure no accidents occur in or around their private pool include:
- Installing explicit signage that denotes the pool’s rules
- Verbally reiterating these rules to guests before accessing the pool
- Banning diving altogether, especially in pools without an adequate deep end
- Prohibiting alcohol or cannabis use when accessing the pool
- Never letting children, minors, and those with special needs swim unsupervised
- Prohibiting access to the swimming pool during extreme or inclement weather
- Prohibiting access to the swimming pool without prior CPR or First Aid training
- Investing in Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) for rookie swimmers
- Investing in life jackets for those at an increased risk of drowning
- Installing an adequate pool fence or barrier that complies with international standards
- Clearing the pool deck of any trip hazards, including loose pool toys, equipment, and debris
- Monitoring guests for exhaustion or dehydration and staying vigilant over such matters
- Regularly maintaining pool pumps, lighting, the pool deck, and other components
What To Do When Swimming Pool Accidents Take Place At Home
If you or a loved one experiences a private swimming pool accident, emergency or drowning, medical attention should be sought immediately via 9-1-1. The incident will need to be reported and documented to local police. Unintentional swimming pool deaths are more common than you think, especially at this time of year.
Conversely, if you are a homeowner and a guest experiences a swimming pool accident, document the accident as soon as you can. As the owner of your home, if a serious injury or death occurs, it is best not to admit fault or discuss the accident without proper legal counsel. Seek out swimming pool lawyers like the kind MG Law provides as soon as you can to discuss next steps.
If You Or A Loved One Has Been Involved In A Serious Swimming Pool Accident, Trust MG Law
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death because of a swimming pool accident, call 613-730-8460 to book your free consultation. Personal injury and wrongful death claims don’t have to be hard when you have the support of MG Law behind you.
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