Aside from grappling with the enormity of an intense recovery or the immense grief of loss, people are often struck by the fact that it didn’t have to happen. That’s because these incidents are largely preventable.
Lack of barriers, lack of swimming ability, lack of supervision and poorly-designed and maintained swimming areas are often to blame.
It is possible for those injured in swimming pool accidents to recover damages, but the cases must be deftly handled by an experienced injury lawyer.
The recent case of Valley Crest Landscape v. Mission Pools reveals how complex these matters can turn out to be. This was a case out of California, recently heard by the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three.
Plaintiff and his wife were guests at a resort in California that featured a swimming pool. It was September 2007. Plaintiff had been drinking, and it was undisputed he was intoxicated. He dove into the shallow end of one of the resort swimming pools. In so doing, he seriously injured his spine and was rendered a quadriplegic.
He subsequently filed a lawsuit against a number of entities, including the resort, the management company and the pool designer and manufacturer. An amended complaint alleged the pool did not provide any visible or effective and legible warnings or signs indicating depth on the pool deck or vertical walls of the pool or in the pool itself. The complaint alleged this failure was in conflict with the standard of reasonable care, a duty defendants owed to plaintiff. His wife too filed a claim for loss of consortium.
The following specific defects were noted:
- Vertical tile depth markers were partially submerged, which made them illegible to guests
- The top depth markers were faded
- The “No Diving” warning was poorly contrasted
- There was no fence between pools with varying depths, so users moving from one to the other didn’t see the “No Diving” sign
- Hotel did not enforce the rule not to use pool after drinking alcohol
- The use of a type of plaster that creates the appearance of greater depth
Ultimately, plaintiffs settled their claims with all the various defendants for approximately $5 million.
The ongoing case had to do with a cross-complaint by the general contractor of the pool-building project against the subcontractor that built the pool. General contractor sought to recover what it spent on litigation based on a claim of express indemnity under the terms of the subcontract. Meanwhile, the general contractor’s insurance company sought recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs based on its policy with the general contractor.
Trial court granted both of these requests, though an appeals court later reversed solely with respect to a denial of jury trial on subcontractor’s express indemnity.
This litigation went on for years, and although the plaintiff has already settled, other involved parties are still squabbling. That presents an idea of how complex these cases can be.
But given the serious and sometimes fatal outcomes of swimming pool accidents, it’s important for plaintiffs to seek advice from an experienced attorney.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7777 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Valley Crest Landscape v. Mission Pools , July 2, 2015, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three
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Carrel v. Serco, Inc. – Lawsuit After Driver Runs Over Pedestrian’s Foot in Parking Lot, June 28, 2015, Naples Swimming Pool Injury Attorney