Swimming pools provide fun and entertainment, and many people swim for years without incident. But pools are not safe for everyone—especially children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for young children between ages one and four. It is the second leading cause of unintentional death in kids up to the age of 14. In addition to death, there are thousands of drowning incidents that are not fatal but that result in permanent brain damage or other serious injuries.
Many of these drowning accidents happen in hotel and apartment swimming pools. Hotels and apartment complexes have a legal responsibility to keep their pools secure with fencing and gates that are not easily accessible by children.
However, there is often little discussion about the dangers of pool drains. This essential component of a swimming pool’s filtration system gets contaminants out of the water. The suction involved in this process poses a certain amount of risk for swimmers, especially those who are lightweight and inexperienced in the water—such as young children.
The Dangers of Pool Drain Suction
Pool drains require an enormous amount of suction to drain water from the pool and put it through the filtration system. The suction pressure can be as high as 700 pounds, making it nearly impossible to help a person who gets hair, fingers, or other body parts too close to the drain. Pool drains are often covered by grates, but sometimes the grates are missing, broken, or too large to prevent people from getting stuck.
Pool drain entrapment generally happens in one of five ways:
- Mechanical entrapment. A piece of jewelry or clothing such as a bathing suit strap gets stuck in the drain.
- Limb entrapment. A finger, toe, arm, or leg becomes lodged in the drain, and the person cannot move.
- Body entrapment. A body part covers up the drain, and the suction prevents the person from moving.
- Hair entrapment. A person’s hair gets dragged into the drain.
- Evisceration. A person sits on the drain. Because they are unable to move, their intestines are pulled right out of their body.
Any of these entrapment injuries are horrifying, and the results can be devastating. Injuries can include near-drowning, brain damage, or death.
Liability in a Hotel or Apartment Pool Accident
Hotels and apartments owe a level of protection to visitors and residents both inside and outside the property—including the pool area. If they do not properly maintain and cover the pool drain, they can be held liable if there is an accident.
There is a variety of evidence that can help you and your attorney prove negligence. This can include:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical bills
- Insurance companies
- Employer records and reports
Be sure to take photos and videos of the accident scene to prevent the hotel or apartment from trying to cover up the issue that led to the drowning or near-drowning.
Your claim against the hotel or apartment could include the following damages:
- Medical treatment, including emergency care and hospital bills for the person who was injured
- Loss of income and other expenses
- Pain and suffering of the victim, or for surviving family members if the accident was fatal
If you don’t work with an experienced personal injury attorney, this could lower the amount of damages you might be able to recover. The hotel or apartment’s insurance company will do everything they can to minimize the damages they have to pay, including trying to deflect liability. Having an experienced attorney on your case can help make sure you and your family recover full damages.
Contact The Button Law Firm
If you or a loved one was involved in a hotel pool drowning, you need an experienced attorney to help you build a strong case. The Button Law Firm also offers a FREE book, The Essential Guide For Your Texas Injury Case, which we can mail to your home, free of charge. Contact us or give us a call at (214) 699-4409 today to set up a consultation.