North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in Swimming Pool Accidents

According to a recent news article from Business Insider, a school band was participating in a completion with other bands at a high school in the greater Charlotte area. Authorities say the students were under a large canopy or awning at one of the buildings being used to host the completion when there as a loud popping sound.

brass-band-1541989.jpgOne student in the band said as soon as heard what sounded like snapping metal, he ran toward the lawn outside the awning. As he ran to the lawn, he heard the canopy collapsing and saw people getting trapped under it. While the total number of injuries has not been released, it has been confirmed that at least one student was taken to a hospital in Winston-Salem with what has been described with life-threatening personal injuries. There has been no official update on this victim’s condition. In total, authorities reported 25 people were injured as result of this accident.
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With the school year ending and the weather getting warmer, many families will be heading to swimming pools across the Carolinas this summer. While a trip to the swimming pool can offer a lot of family fun, it can result in serious accidents, which can have a devastating effect on those involved.

1262339_swimming_pool.jpgAccording to a recent news article form WJHG, doctors and hospitals are urging parents to help keep kids safe when in or around a swimming pool. One of the most important things parents can do is make sure children are under adult supervision at all times. A child should never be left alone at a pool. Proper adult supervision can go a long way to prevent drownings and near drownings.

While children of all ages have been victims of drowning, research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown children between the ages of one and four have the highest drowning rates. It is recommended that any infants or toddlers in the pool should never be allowed to get more than an arm’s length from an adult supervisor.
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Despite snowfall at a Detroit Tigers game this week, we are entering a time of year when the weather gets warmer and days get longer, especially in South Carolina. As the weather turns hot, more and more people will be hitting the beach and swimming in local lakes and neighborhood swimming pools. While this can be a lot of fun for the whole family, swimming can result in tragic drowning, and it is important to familiarize yourself with drowning risks and what to do in case of an emergency.

1285110_fishing_boat.jpgAccording to a recent article from The Island Packet, a man drowned in Lake Marion. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authorities are investigating the recent fatal drowning accident, which occurred in Santee State Park.

Authorities say the 62-year-old victim was in the process of launching his boat when he tried to jump from the dock to his boat, and he fell into the lake. His wife was already in the boat and tried to throw out some tie down lines, but her husband could not manage to grab them in time and drowned.
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A recently-released report by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reveals that between 2008 and 2012, there were 138 children who died as a result of unintentional drowning in this state. It accounted for 13 percent of all child deaths in the state, making it the No. 3 cause of death for children in this time frame (preceded by motor vehicle crashes, which accounted for half of all child deaths). pool2.jpg

Our Charlotte swimming pool accident attorneys know the largest number of these incidents occur in the summer. The same is generally true across the country, when more pools are open, accessible and in use.

Adequate safety measures and supervision of children in and around the pool at all times is critical. The recent case of Fellowship of Christian Athletes v. Ironshore Specialty Ins. shows what can happen when adequate supervision is not employed. Here, apparent negligence by camp counselors and organizers resulted in the death of not one but two campers who attended a pool party and were left unattended in the pool area, despite not having the ability to swim.
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Fourth of July weekend is a great time for families to have a cookout and enjoy a day at the pool. While this can be a lot of fun, our personal injury lawyers urge you to take extra precautions to make sure the kids stay safe.

fireworks12.jpgA swimming pool, whether it is the backyard or a public facility, poses many dangers to children. Some of these dangers, like drowning, are obvious, but there are also some less obvious dangers like slip and fall accidents. According the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, an average of 29 children will die each year across the state from drowning. Many of these deaths occur in children aged one to five and primarily in children with little or no prior swimming lessons or other experience with the water. It was also noted that insufficient supervision of small children at the pool played a large part in these tragedies.

It is imperative that small children be watched at all times when they are in the water. It is also important for parents to familiarize themselves with what drowning actually looks like. In the movies and on TV, we are used to seeing people thrashing around in the water with arms flailing wildly. We see huge splashes until the victim finally slips below the surface of the water. While this Hollywood depiction of drowning may add to the drama on the big screen, it is often far from what drowning looks like in real life. Often, drowning victims have reached a level of fatigue that makes it difficult to keep their heads above water. Once a victim starts having trouble breathing, he or she may start to experience blackouts, hypoxia, or other neurological symptoms caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. The victim will likely be completely silent at this point, with very little movement.
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Swimming pools pose a number of obvious dangers to children — including drowning, slip and fall, and injuries caused by diving. One of the lesser known risks of home swimming pools is carbon monoxide poisoning. A South Carolina family is hoping to raise awareness about swimming pool carbon monoxide poisoning after losing their son in 2013. The family has established a foundation to prevent future accidents, injuries, and wrongful death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to USA Today, hotel guests are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the past three years 8 people have died and 170 others have been treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels, which rarely have CO detectors. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys are committed to raising safety awareness to prevent accidents and injuries. We provide strategic counsel and representation to help victims recover after an accident.
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Pools are part of daily life in North and South Carolina. Despite a general knowledge of pool safety, pool owners as well as visitors should be aware of the potential dangers on pool grounds. Public and private pool operators must take appropriate steps to keep grounds safe and to prevent accidents and injuries that could be deadly.

Pool owners can be held liable in the event of an injury or accidental death if they are found to be negligent. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys are experienced with the investigation of pool accidents and will bring all relevant claims against responsible individuals and entities. We are also dedicated to accident prevention and want to keep South Carolina residents and their families safe when using pools this summer season.


If you are a pool owner, you should keep your pool gated and locked. While new technology has created high-tech pool alarms in the event of trespass, you should continue to supervise your children in the pool area. All residential pool owners must have proper fencing around swimming areas.

Another danger on pool grounds involves the pool’s filtration systems. Numerous fatalities have occurred on public and private pool grounds when small children have gotten caught or “suctioned” to a pool’s filter drain. There are city and state requirements regarding filtration systems and safety requirements.

Meeting code requirements is important not only for pool safety, but for insurance purposes. While pools are usually installed by professionals who have training and know insurance requirements, homeowners who try to install a pool themselves should also have a clear understanding of their obligations under the law. Not only could a violation create a safety hazard, it could open up a pool owner to liability in the event of an accident. City inspectors who find violations can fine both public and private pool owners and operators until the pool meets state and local requirements.

Pool regulation offenses may be uncommon because owners must first obtain a permit before building a pool. Usually this involves an involved inspection process. Overtime, a gate, guardrail or other safety measure may fail. Property owners are responsible for fixing or replacing any issues in a reasonable amount of time. Negligent maintenance of a pool area could also give rise to liability.

One primary key to safety is supervision. If you have young children, you should always be supervising them when at a pool. While a lifeguard at a public or private pool can be helpful, they should not be your only source of supervision when at a pool. Where there is no lifeguard, parents should be extra careful to supervise swimming and playing children when in a pool area.

Another issue for pool owners is whether a pool has the depth to be safe for diving. Water slides must also meet requirements to avoid injuries and liability. Pool owners should warn swimmers if the depth cannot accommodate diving or if diving poses a safety hazard.

Pool accidents can be severe resulting in head injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis. In the most severe cases, a pool incident can result in drowning and fatality. To prevent injury, pool owners should be aware of all safety requirements and know what action to take in the event of an emergency. There should also be emergency equipment on-hand to best respond to an accident.
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Whether out on the lake, in the ocean, or at a pool, swimmers and observers should be aware of the signs of drowning. Taking immediate action can make the difference between permanent injury, or life and death. A recent article published by Slate highlights the reality that it is often difficult to identify a drowning victim. While some may assume that drowning victims will be screaming or thrashing, this is not often the case.

According to experts, drowning is not usually identifiable by thrashing in the water, violet yelling or a call for help. Drowning can be “deceptively quiet” according to a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer who has often seen victims of drowning overlooked, even by close bystanders. Our Charlotte swimming accident attorneys want to keep our clients and the community safe by promoting swimming safety and to provide information on how to spot a drowning victim.


When watching movies, drowning victims wave, yell and call for help. In fact, drowning victims may not splash or show any sign of struggle. Medical experts in the field have reported that The Instinctive Drowning Response, is what victims actually do to avoid suffocating underwater. Essentially, a drowning victim may go into shock and the reaction is not very dramatic to bystanders.

Drowning is the number two cause of accidental death to children under the age of 5. Surprisingly, nearly half of deaths will be within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. Parents may even be watching their children without knowing that they are drowning.

In reality, victims are unable to call out for help. A respiratory system, designed for breathing, makes speech secondary. Victims may become paralyzed as the body focuses exclusively on taking in air. A drowning victim’s mouth may sink under water then reappear. Mouths of victims are usually not above the water long enough to inhale and call for help so they breath in quickly before their mouth sinks below the surface.

The same way that a victim is unable to call for help, a victim cannot wave. Instinctively, victims will extend their arms and press down on the surface of the water to leverage for air. In this position, victims cannot control arm movements. A victim will usually remain upright in the water with no evidence of kicking. The terrifying thing about drowning, is that the physiological response to drowning makes victims unable to call out for help; and, a victim can usually only struggle between 20 and 60 seconds before they are fully submerged.

If you and your family will be out swimming this summer, remember to keep small children away from the water when unattended. You should also remain aware of the signs of drowning including a head low in the water, tilted back, glassy or empty eyes, closed eyes, hair over forehead or eyes, the inability to use legs, or gasping. By identifying the signs of a drowning victim, you can also take appropriate action when a victim needs help.
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It’s that time of year again — when we get to open up our swimming pools and enjoy some fun in the sun. Whether you’re swimming in the pool at your home, the pool in your community, at a public pool or at a friend’s pool, you’re reminded to keep safety as a number one priority.
According to federal statistics, fatal drowning accidents continue to be the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for residents under the age of 14. For children who are under the age of 4, the risks is much higher.

Our Charlotte swimming pool accident attorneys understand that for every child who is killed in a swimming pool accident, another four are sent to the emergency room for care for serious injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are close to 400 fatalities and more than 2,500 emergency room visits each year among children under the age of 5. Most of these accidents happen in home pools, too.

Who is most at risk for these swimming pool accidents?

-About 80 percent of the victims of these accidents are male.

-Children under the age of 14 are most commonly the victims of swimming pool accident.

-Minorities (African Americans) see a significantly higher rate of drowning fatalities than whites.

There are quite a few factors present in these drowning accidents. One of the most common is the lack of swimming ability. It’s important that we’re making sure our young ones are provided with the proper swimming skills at an early age.

It’s also important to make sure that we’re properly protecting our young ones from the pool. This means to make sure that you’ve got the proper barriers surrounding your pool. Make sure that they are equipped with a lock that cannot be accessed by our young ones. When a fence of a barrier is in place, we can reduce our child’s risk by close to 85 percent.

Lack of proper supervision is also a common factor in these accidents. Supervision is more than just being in the same area as your pool and your young swimmers. You want to make sure that you’re always watching them.

Location is going to tell you a lot about your risks, too. If you’ve got a swimming pool in your home, your risks are up there. If you live near lakes or rivers, your risks are pretty high, too. Don’t forget that there are ways to help to prevent these risks though, regardless of where you live. You have to make sure that these areas can’t be accessed by your little ones.

It’s important that we’re keeping the conversation active about water safety with our young ones. Awareness and education is one of the best ways to help to prevent these accidents. Make sure you provide them with the tools and supervision they need to stay safe out there, whether swimming in water or playing around it.
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We’re finally out of the summer season, but drowning risks for children continue well into the fall in the Carolinas. In fact, safety advocates say putting your guard down as summer wanes can actually increase the risk — particularly if you have young children.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), there were more than 135 children under the age of 15 who were killed in drowning accidents during the summer season in the United States. All of these fatalities happened between Memorial Day holiday and Labor Day. This doesn’t count the number of near-drowning accidents. Near-drowning cases often result in very grave injuries, including traumatic brain injury.
“We are losing too many children to drowning, tragically cutting short these young lives and leaving families devastated,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman.

Our Asheville personal injury attorneys understand the risks children face, whether around a small inflatable backyard pool, or playing in the Atlantic Ocean. They happen when parents are around and they happen when children are left unsupervised. As a matter of fact, about 55 happened right after the child left an adult who was in the immediate vicinity. Another 31 happened when there were adults present at the pool.

The CPSC won’t have final statistics until later this year. These were only the accidents that were reported by the media through the summer months.

North Carolina is one of the states that typically records the highest number of drowning accidents. The unfortunate part about most of these accidents is that they could have been prevented. Parents need to keep a closer eye on children when they’re playing near a pool and they need to better protect their pools to make sure they cannot be accessed by our young ones when we’re not around!

When breaking down these numbers, we can see that about 100 of the more than 135 kids who drowned during this time were under the age of 5. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4.

According to the CPSC, from 2007 to 2009 there were an annual average of more than 240 young children killed in drowning accidents during the summer season. Drownings during this time account for more than 60 percent of the drownings that happen all year.

To help to reduce the risks of these kinds of accidents, officials with the CPSC are launching their Pool Safety Campaign. The campaign is reminding parents of simple safety steps that should be taken to protect kids around pools. Officials are asking parents, guardians and other adults to remain near kids in the water, always stay alert, watch children when they’re in and even around pools and to protect their pool from child access when they’re not around!
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