Austin Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one were injured due to the hazards at someone else’s swimming pool, contact Gibson Hill Personal Injury to help you pursue the financial compensation you need. Swimming is a popular pastime in Austin, especially during the warm summer months. Unfortunately, swimming pool accidents are also common. There are thousands of swimming pool accidents every year in the U.S.
There are dangers in and near pools that could cause harm to anyone, whether someone slips on wet cement or dives into an unmarked pool. Sadly, however, children are often the victims of swimming pool accidents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are, on average, 379 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings involving children younger than 15 each year. In addition, there are an estimated 6,700 pool- or spa-related serious, non-fatal child drowning injuries each year. The numbers are astounding.
Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of guests by maintaining and repairing their properties. If they fail in their duties, they could become liable for resulting injuries.
You don’t have to suffer alone. Call us at (737) 249-6300 today to speak with one of our experienced Austin swimming pool accident lawyers. We can help.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to the rules property owners must follow to ensure the safety of visitors. There are certain guidelines, depending on the type of visitor on their property.
Licensees are individuals given consent to enter the premises by the owner. If the property owner is aware of any dangers, they’re supposed to warn the licensees. For example, cracked concrete near the pool should contain warning signs or cones to prevent someone from walking on it.
Invitees are people who visit the property with the owner’s knowledge for mutual benefit. If there’s a hazard, the owner must repair it or warn the invitees of its existence.
Trespassers enter someone’s property without permission. It isn’t up to the owner to warn them of dangerous conditions; however, they have to take proper precautions to avoid injury by acts of wanton, willful, or gross negligence.
The most common factors that can lead to a swimming pool accident include:
- Defective equipment, such as a broken ladder or handrail
- Lack of or inexperienced lifeguards
- Inadequate or damaged safety barriers
- Uneven, cracked, or slippery surfaces
- Missing drain covers
- Failure to provide warning signs regarding hazards
- Faulty fencing or gates
- Illegible or faded depth markers
- Exposed or faulty electrical wires
The injuries a person could sustain in and around a swimming pool varies. They range from a minor cut to broken bones to drowning. The most common include:
- Lacerations and wounds
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Dislocated joint
- Sprain or strain
How to Prove Negligence After a Swimming Pool Accident
Just because you got hurt on another person’s property doesn’t automatically entitle you to compensation from the property owner. You must prove negligence existed at the time of the accident. Negligence is the legal theory that one party failed to prevent harm to another by exercising reasonable care.
There are five elements of negligence:
- Duty: The property owner owed you a duty of care to prevent injury;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their actions, you wouldn’t’ have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: Their breach was the direct cause of your injury; and
- Damages: The accident resulted in damages.
What Are Damages?
Damages fall under two main categories. Economic damages are expenses incurred from an injury, such as the cost of medical care. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are difficult to calculate, such as physical pain.
You could pursue the following damages in a premises liability case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage costs
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and capacity to earn future wages
- General inconvenience
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Economic and non-economic damages are available in an insurance claim and civil lawsuit. A third type, known as punitive damages, is only available in lawsuits and aims to punish the at-fault party instead of compensating the victim’s losses.
Juries will only award punitive damages under special circumstances. You must provide clear and convincing evidence that the property owner acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence to recover punitive damages in a lawsuit successfully.
Hire an Experienced Austin Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer to Represent You
Premises liability cases are complicated. You need to locate crucial evidence that proves the property owner’s negligent actions caused your injury. Most people don’t understand the legal process and how to handle it. When you hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we’ll provide guidance and take care of each step for you. Our legal team will:
Perform an investigation. We’ll begin by thoroughly investigating the cause of the accident and find evidence that shows the property owner was at fault for the dangerous condition.
Locate witnesses. We’ll track down people who were there when you got hurt and take their statements. The details they provide could help us prove fault and hold the property owner liable.
Review all damages. We’ll look at your total damages to determine the value of your case. Whether we file an insurance claim or lawsuit, the number we come up with should reimburse your expenses and compensate you for the suffering you endured.
Put the property owner on notice. Once we establish the property owner is to blame, we’ll send them a Notice of Claim. In the letter, we’ll let them know of our intent to pursue legal action and request that they preserve all available evidence. We’ll also ask them to provide their liability insurance information.
File a claim. Once we obtain the property owner’s insurance policy and find out how much coverage is available, we’ll file a claim. We’re aggressive during negotiations, and we’ll attempt to reach a fair settlement agreement.
File a lawsuit. If we’re unable to settle the case with the insurance company, we’ll move forward with a lawsuit. We can sue the insurance company and property owner for compensation for your damages. We have experience taking cases to trial and fighting against opposing parties in court.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas
If you want to sue the at-fault party for their negligent actions, you must follow a strict deadline. There’s a two-year statute of limitations in Texas for bringing legal action against the property owner after a swimming pool accident. That means you have two years from the injury date to file your lawsuit. After two years pass, you’ll lose your right to compensation in this legal matter.
If you meet specific requirements, you could potentially pause the clock under the following circumstances:
- You have a legal disability being of unsound mind or under the age of 18. The clock will begin when you turn 18 years old or regain mental competency.
- The two-year clock will pause if the at-fault party leaves the state temporarily. Their absence won’t count towards the deadline, and the clock will start upon their return.
Don’t Wait to Prepare Your Case
If you sustain injuries at another person’s pool, you should immediately begin preparing your legal case. Over time, witness memories can fade, and evidence goes missing or becomes damaged. If you don’t have proof that your injury occurred because of the property owner’s actions, you’ll have a tough time convincing an insurance company or jury that you deserve compensation.
Follow the steps below after a swimming pool accident:
- Call 911 and wait for law enforcement and an ambulance to arrive.
- Report the accident to the property owner or management. They might ask that you fill out an incident report. Read through it carefully to ensure you’re not signing a waiver that prevents you from pursuing legal action against them. Ask for a copy after completing it.
- Speak to people who saw what happened and write down their names and phone numbers.
- If there’s a hazard that caused your injury, take pictures of it.
- Go to a hospital for treatment of your injuries. Follow up with your doctors until you heal.
- Hire an Austin swimming pool accident lawyer.
Once you retain our services, we’ll start working on your case. Even though there isn’t a deadline for filing an insurance claim, negotiating a settlement could take months. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount or denies your claim, we’ll need to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations could have passed by then, and you would lose your right to bring your case to court.
Even if you suffered a minor injury, you should still talk to an Austin swimming pool accident lawyer. You might be entitled to some compensation for the damages you incurred.
Choose Gibson Hill Personal Injury
Swimming pool accidents can cause severe injuries that impact your ability to perform your job and take care of your family. While you’re facing the stress of paying for treatment, you don’t want the responsibility of building a legal case. That’s what we’re here to do. We’ll relieve your burden and handle each step of the process so you can focus on your recovery.
Our team of Austin premises liability lawyers cares about our clients. We’ll advise you on the best options for pursuing financial compensation and use all the resources at our disposal to fight for the justice you deserve.
If you were the victim of a swimming pool accident and want to learn more about our services, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (737) 249-6300. We’ll meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your case and help you move forward from this devastating experience.