Surveillance footage which came to light after the incident clearly shows that an 8-year-old boy fell off a raft at an unattended swimming pool, and he had been at the bottom of the pool for some time before first responders arrived.
Youngsville Police Chief Rickey Boudreaux said the incident occurred during a family gathering. The boy, whose name was not released, was transported to a local hospital where he was later declared dead.
Whether they cause death or serious injury, swimming pool drownings are always tragic, and the situation is even worse if the incident was not the victims’ fault. Additionally, many swimmers are injured, and some die, because pool owners do not properly clean the water. Sometimes, they use an insufficient amount of chemicals to kill bacteria; other times, they use too many chemicals and swimmers are essentially poisoned.
Defective products, like cleaning chemicals that were improperly mixed or gates that do not latch and lock properly, are sometimes to blame. If the plaintiff establishes that the product defect caused the injury and the manufacturer knew or should have known about the defect at the design or production phase, the manufacturer may be liable for damages. Some jurisdictions require the plaintiff to also prove that there was a reasonable alternative design available.
There may also be negligence on the part of the pool owner(s); for example, the pool may not be cleaned in accordance with the recommended maintenance schedule and techniques. If maintenance workers or any other employees fail to do their jobs properly, the employers (in this case, the pool owners) are responsible for the victims’ damages.
The most common theory in swimming pool drowning cases is premises liability. Swimmers who are on the premises at the express or implied invitation of the owners are invitees, and in these situations, the owners have a duty to make the pool reasonably safe. Many private communal pools, like the ones at hotels, apartment complexes, and some subdivisions, rely on “no lifeguard on duty” or “swim at your own risk” signs to avoid liability in these cases.
Many courts will side with the landowner in these swimming pool drowning cases, under certain circumstances. Sign that are behind trees or notices that are posted at customer service counters do not provide sufficient warning. In a similar vein, such signs normally do not excuse liability in other areas (e.g. failure to provide lifesaving equipment). Furthermore, children cannot lawfully enter into contracts and therefore cannot assume the risk of injury: the parents or caregivers must know about the risk and let the children swim anyway.
Landowners have a duty to keep their premises safe from swimming pool drownings. For a free consultation with a diligent personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. An attorney can arrange ongoing medical care for victims, even if they have no money and no insurance.