By William Bill Hurst

Drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in 18 states and nationally ranks second only to automobile accidents claiming the lives of approximately 4,000 children each year and leaving another 12,000 with some form of brain damage. A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle accident to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.

Near drowning can lead to permanent brain damage/injury affecting the brain’s function; affecting the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body, and/or affecting the ability of muscles to respond to the brain’s orders.  http://www.brainlink.org.au/understanding-the-nervous-system.htm

An acquired brain injury (damage to the brain) can result from a lack of oxygen (hypoxia) during near drowning which affects blood supply to the brain. This type of injury will have lasting effects on an individual such as sensory difficulties, physical difficulties, communication and speech problems, as well as other medical problems.

Prevention of near drowning or drowning experiences is the best way to prevent these horrible accidents which could lead to brain injuries. Some pool safety suggestions are barriers, alarms or safety covers for pools. These methods are useful and cost effective prevention techniques to avoid a near drowning and potential death or injury. http://poolsafety.gov/pool-spa-safety/safety-system/

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on how to appropriately supervise your children, teach them to swim and provide protection for them to prevent swimming pool accidents. The CDC provides the “dos and don’ts” for child-proofing a swimming pool at your home; and on how drowning can be prevented.  http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

In Indiana there are swimming pool regulations and municipal ordnances which must be complied with if you wish to construct or maintain a swimming pool.  These regulations have been enacted to prevent injuries and in particular regard to children.  Obviously, an open swimming pool with no barriers is a sure way cause injury or even death by drowning if the wrong person happens to wander in.  All legal swimming pools must have a safety barrier completely surrounding the pool that is at least five feet high with self-closing gates that have locking mechanisms.  The gates are to be locked when no responsible adult is at the pool.  Before any construction of the pool takes place the City must issue a building permit and ultimately inspect the construction to ensure that the safety regulations of the City and State are complied with.  The Article 20 of the Swimming Pool Code and a discussion about swimming pool regulations may be seen at www.ehow.com/list_6565179_Indiana-swimming-pool-regulations.html  The Indiana Swimming Pool Code (675iac20) is available at www.state-code-books.com  The Marion County Code may be purchased or seen online at www.municode.com/library/clientCodePage.aspx?clientID=2720

If you have only recently become the owner of a swimming pool, it is suggested that you carefully review www.swimmingpoollaws.net and other related websites.  Besides compliance with the federal, state and local codes, swimming pool safety should be your number one priority.  For example, you should never leave a child unsupervised near or beside a pool.  If you cannot find your child or any of your children, always start your search in the pool area.  As much as possible, install barriers and protective devices to ensure the safety of children, many of which are required by law.  You should always instruct babysitters or guardians on how to act when a pool emergency happens.  Have safety devices nearby!  Never leave your pool open and unsecured!  Being a parent means being responsible! Certainly if you violate any of these practical safety tips you may be responsible for anything that happens in your pool.  Lawsuits are common against parents and pool owners when a pool violates safety requirements and safety codes and injury results. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-28-drowning-lawsuit_N.htm

Children are obviously attracted to swimming pools and therefore must be prevented from being able to enter the pool without an adult present.  Indeed, it has been recommended that you should not have a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years of age.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has formulated various programs for injury prevention for children.  www.aap.org/family

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a comprehensive study of drowning incidents involving children under 5 years of old in Arizona, California and Florida determined that 75% of the victims were between 1 and 3 years of age, and 65% of this group were boys.  This is true even though at the time of the incidents most of the children were being supervised by one or both parents.  65% of all the incidents reviewed happened in a pool owned by the child’s family and only 33% of the incidents happened in pools owned by friends or relatives.  It must be remembered that a child can drown by the time it takes answer a phone.  In most of these cases the victims had been missing from site for five minutes or less.   The Commission based upon these findings makes several recommendations as minimal steps you could take to protect your pool and make it safe for your child.   In addition, they set out extensive rules for pools which should be complied with if you have concern for safety of your children or neighborhood children.  www.liveandlearn.com/pools.html  Most YMCAs have programs about swimming pool safety and training parents and children how to be safe in the pool setting.

Indiana has a stature of limitations on filing a claim or thereafter any claim on pool injury or other forms of accidental injuries may be barred.  Pool injuries and drowning in particular take time to investigate in order to determine the responsible parties and the possible negligence of the individuals or companies that are involved.  If someone in your family has been involved in a drowning incident it is imperative you contact an attorney at the earliest possible time so that all of these issues may be appropriately investigated and determined.  Likewise, you should be advised that if a governmental entity is responsible in any way there may be a short time to preserve your right to file a lawsuit.  Swimming pool injuries may involve injuries from falls, drowning, or near drowning, causing serious injury and at times death.

If someone in your family has been in a swimming pool or lake accident contact William W Hurst for a free consultation and case evaluation http://www.billhurst.com/

 

www.indianapolisabogado.com

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Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years. Bill has helped families with tragic life altering injuries and deaths. Bill has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements to compensate families for their losses. He is a graduate, with honors, from Indiana University School of Law. He has served on the Executive Committee and is a Director Emeritus of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He has published articles on various personal injury topics and has lectured at various legal seminars. Bill is listed in Naifeh and Smith, The Best Lawyers in America and has been for over ten (10) years, Bill is selected as a “Super Lawyer” by the Indianapolis Monthly Magazine from its first publication in 2002 to its most recent; he was selected as one of Indiana’s Top 100 Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association. In 2000, Bill was named the Indiana Trial Lawyer Of The Year by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. Bill has the highest rating given by Martindale Hubble, as does his law firm. Bill has extensive litigation experience involving automobile, truck, motorcycle, bike accidents, slip and fall cases, product and manufacturing failures, dangerous drugs, product design, construction site accidents and more. He has represented clients not only in Indiana but also throughout the Country. Bill successfully represented the State of Indiana in the Tobacco Litigation. He has been involved in mass tort litigation, representing all women in the State of Indiana in the Norplant litigation, breast implant litigation, and represents represented numerous clients in the Vioxx litigation. Bill believes that every case is unique and requires special personal attention. You may email him at WHurst@MHJD.com or call (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation.

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