We like to think that pool time is playtime but statistics show pools can be extremely dangerous. In addition to drowning accidents, the number of people injured or killed in diving accidents each year make pools one of the most deadly static recreational devices around. Many of those injured are young and suffer severe trauma that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
While it may seem like harmless fun, when you dive from a board or the deck of a pool, you hit the water at 15 feet per second. In order to fully stop your downward motion at that speed, a pool would have to be 12-15 feet deep. However, the vast majority of accidents occur in water depths of about 3 ¼ feet or less. While many believe diving boards are the real danger, less than 10% of all swimming pool diving injuries involve these popular pool accessories.
Significant Risk Factors for Diving Accidents
Studies have shown that there are three main risk factors associated with diving injuries.
•1) Physical Conditions Around the Pool
Slip and fall accidents are common around poorly maintained pools. Deck should be as dry as possible and coated with slip-resistant material. In addition, good lighting is essential. It’s estimated that about 30% of diving accidents occur because the victim either couldn’t or didn’t see the submerged danger just under the surface.
•2) Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol impairs judgment and those imbibing tend to lose their inhibitions, engage in reckless activities, and allow horseplay builds to dangerous levels
•3) Peer Pressure
Even with or without alcohol, social pressure to engage in unsafe activity can be tremendously difficult to overcome. Children and adults give in order to be part of the group, often against their best judgment, and end up with severe spinal and head trauma.
Coping with the High Cost of Diving Injuries
Non-fatal diving accidents can cause trauma which leaves victims suffering lifelong consequences such as partial or complete paralysis. One study from France showed that the average cost of non-paralyzing spinal injuries related to diving was $46,000, just for the hospital stay. That figure didn’t take into account the average 10 months the patients had to spend in a rehabilitation center.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims and their family members can seek damages against those responsible (or even partially responsible) for their injuries. The owners of the pool in question, those who served alcohol poolside, or even individuals at the pool engaged in unsafe behaviors could be made to help pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a diving accident, call the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 for a free consultation to learn your rights.