Updated February 26, 2019
Swimming and diving are classic summer pastimes, and many people take to the water to have fun while the sun shines. Unfortunately, a day at the pool can easily turn tragic.
Every year in the United States, diving injuries cost nearly $1.8 billion in losses for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Although swimming and diving can be enjoyable, it is important to be on the lookout for unexpected dangers.
Most public pools have an area designated for diving and posted warnings in the parts of the pool not deep enough to dive safely. Far fewer private, backyard pools have such signage.
Oftentimes, underwater hazards and shallow water levels at popular lakes are not well marked. If there are no signs or buoys to warn swimmers, an individual merely attempting to have fun and cool off may be injured by diving into the water. Other dangerous locations for swimmers and divers include water-filled rock quarries and unmarked roadway bridges.
Lighting is also an important element of pool safety, particularly underwater lighting.
Swimmers at community pools and lakes may also risk traumatic injury when the property is not supervised by lifeguards or is supervised in an irresponsible manner.
Diving boards can be one of the most dangerous features of any swimming pool. Divers and swimmers risk hitting their head on the bottom or side of the pool and sustaining an injury by falling off or hitting their head on the diving board itself. In order to prevent drowning, it is important to ensure you always swim or dive with others in a well-supervised location.
Unfortunately, a diving accident will often result in a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury occurs when one or more vertebrae are fractured, compressed, or dislocated. Spinal cord injuries can vary in severity from minor to permanently disabling. Although an injury to someone’s spine may result in total paralysis, it can also leave an individual with limited sensation and control.
Those who suffer from such injuries may recover partially, fully, or remain paralyzed for the duration of their lifetime. A spinal cord injury may increase an individual’s sensitivity to pain, cause muscle spasms, and lead to incontinence. People who have suffered a spinal cord injury are also more apt to develop secondary medical complications, including lung or bladder infections and bed sores. Spinal cord injuries can occur in any number of circumstances, but the most common causes are sports injuries, car accidents, shootings, and diving accidents.
In most cases, divers are responsible for their own actions. However, property owners have a certain responsibility to their guests to provide safe premises. If, for instance, a diving board is improperly installed or is installed over water of insufficient depth for safe diving, it would be an example of negligence on the part of the property owner.
In Indiana, someone who is hurt in a diving accident might be eligible to receive compensation for their medical expenses, disability, pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages associated with the accident. Sometimes, a negligent party may also be required to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish and deter those who have acted illegally, maliciously, or negligently.
In short, if you had reason to believe it was safe to dive into a pool, and injured yourself while diving, you may have a legal claim for damages. Property owners should have proper signage warning where it is unsafe to dive, even if no diving board is present. A failure to warn of danger is, in most cases, legally negligent.
When someone is injured due to dangerous property conditions, the owner of the property or the party responsible for the property’s maintenance may be held legally responsible.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a diving accident as a result of an improperly maintained, unsafe, or poorly supervised body of water, contact the Indianapolis Premises Liability Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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