Pool, Hot Tub and Spa Injury Lawsuits
Madison Personal Injury Attorneys on Pool and Hot Tub Injury and Death Suits
Every summer, families all across Wisconsin look forward to cooling off in swimming pools and relaxing in hot tubs or jacuzzis. Sadly, what starts out as a day of fun sometimes ends in tragedy. If you or someone in your family has been injured in a pool or spa-related accident, the Madison personal injury attorneys of Warshafsky Law are here to help.
By far, children are the ones most frequently injured or killed in pool and spa accidents. The Consumer Products Safety Council estimates that every year approximately 4,900 children under the age of 15 have a pool or spa injury serious enough to require a trip to the emergency room. From 2009 through 2011 (the most recent statistics available), 390 children under 15 died as a result of pool and hot tub accidents.
Establishing Negligence in Pool and Hot Tub Injury Cases
When injury or death occurs at a private residence or a commercial establishment, there are three categories in which cases may fall:
Injuries and deaths in pools and spas often occur due to faulty, defective or poorly designed products. A lawsuit for an injury or death caused by a faulty product is known as a product liability case. Such suits can be brought against the manufacturer of the pool or hot tub (or its related components), as well as companies involved in the marketing, distribution and sale of the product. Related products include diving boards, water slides and flotation devices for young children. All of these have the potential to cause injury, and even death.
Often, injuries around pools and spas are the result of the owner failing to maintain the property or the equipment. Lawsuits for injuries caused by improper maintenance are known as premises liability cases. Consider, for instance, a visitor to a pool trips on a loose brick in the landscaping steps leading to his neighbor’s backyard pool and breaks his arm in the fall. The owner’s failure to maintain the steps in a safe manner would make him liable for his guest’s injury.
Accidents which happen as a result of a property owner’s (or management company’s) carelessness in taking appropriate care to protect swimmers are known as negligence cases. Owners of pools, hot tubs and spas are responsible for keeping them safe, and a large part of this involves ensuring small children cannot get into the pool area without supervision. Fencing, gates with childproof latches, covers for pools and spas—these are all things responsible property owners need to have in place.
Madison Wrongful Death Attorneys on Suction Entrapment Pool Deaths
Although considerably less common than other accidents that can occur in pools and hot tubs, suction entrapment is one of the worst. The powerful suction force of the drain in a pool or hot tub is enough to hold a young child underwater and cause death by drowning. In addition to causing drowning, the suction forces in wading pools at large water parks are often powerful enough to cause evisceration and disembowelment in small children who sit on drain grates.
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In the 1970s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began investigating incidents of entrapment under water caused by the suction drains in swimming pools and hot tubs. From 1999 to 2008 there were 11 deaths due to suction entrapment and 69 injuries. These incidents included entrapment of hair, bathing suits, jewelry and even entire bodies. The actual number of deaths and injuries is likely much higher since police and medical records don't always list specific causes for drowning.
In cases of suction entrapment, our Madison personal injury attorneys bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party, whether that’s the manufacturer or the owner of the pool.
Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act Prevents Many Suction Entrapment Drownings
In December of 2008, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act. The act is named in honor of 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker, granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. Despite being an accomplished swimmer, Virginia drowned after being pinned underwater by the suction force of a hot tub drain. The suction was so strong it took two men to pull her off the suction grate.
The Act prohibits the use, sale or distribution of suction outlets that fail to conform to safety standards. Specifically, it requires the use of larger, rounded covers that do not create such intense suction. Originally, the act also required a back-up mechanical system to prevent suction in pools with a single drain or in cases where the cover has been removed or is broken. Unfortunately the law was later modified to eliminate the requirement of a backup mechanical shutoff system. Current safety standards include the requirement of two drains to minimize the amount of suction at either one.
Consumer Products Safety Commission Safety Tips for Hot Tubs and Spas:
- Always have a locked safety cover on the spa when not in use and always supervise young children when in the tub.
- Make sure the spa has the dual drains and drain covers mandated by current safety standards and check them throughout the season to make sure they’re not cracked or loose.
- Have a professional regularly check your spa to make sure it is in good, safe working condition.
- Know where the cut-off switch for your pump is in case you need to turn it off in an emergency.
- Don’t let water temperature get above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Madison’s Best Personal Injury Attorneys Secure Highest Financial Compensation Possible
Whether you have suffered injury yourself or have lost someone close to you in a pool, hot tub or spa accident, the Madison personal injury attorneys of Warshafsky Law will secure the maximum financial compensation possible for your loss.
Unlike the typical personal injury law firm that is quick to recommend whatever lowball settlement offer from the insurance company, we aren’t afraid to take a case to court. In fact, we wrote the very textbook on trial law—the Trial Handbook for Wisconsin Lawyers. We prepare every case from day one as if it will be heard before a judge, and our skilled attorneys have a long history of procuring record-setting sums for our clients.
If you want an attorney who will stand up for your best interests at the negotiating table and in court, you definitely want Warshafsky Law on your side. Not convinced? Just read some examples of the Society Changing Judgments we’ve made possible for our clients.
The Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Madison at No Upfront Cost Whatsoever
If you have a solid case, our Madison personal injury attorneys will be happy to represent you with upfront or ongoing costs to you whatsoever. Only after your case has been resolved will we ask for payment. And if for any reason we do not prevail for you, our No Win, No Fee policy ensures you owe us absolutely nothing.
Take advantage of our free, no-obligation legal consultation to learn more about how we can help with your injury or loss.