Many South Carolina resorts offer swimming pools for their guests. These idyllic settings are great for relaxing, but they also carry the risk of drowning accidents. The danger is especially pressing for young children who may not understand the risks. Pool owners, including hotels, have a legal duty to protect the safety of their guests.
Before diving into the water, it’s useful to know the legal aspects of drowning accidents. Negligence may be grounds for a personal injury claim. Learn about common causes of drowning accidents and possible injuries. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you will want to know your legal rights to compensation. The skilled team at Pracht Injury Lawyers is ready to answer any questions you may have.
Common Causes of Drowning Accidents at Hotels
Hotel pools in South Carolina resorts can be very appealing. You may choose to stay at a property because they have a pool. They can be fun for the whole family and a great way to cool down during hot summers. But swimming pools can also be the cause of serious injury and death. Sometimes, accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the property owner or manager. It is their legal duty to maintain a safe environment for all guests.
Possible causes of drowning accidents at hotels and resorts include:
- Lack of property safety measures
- Damaged boards and slides
- Lack of secure fencing
- Lack of clear signage with safety warnings
- Distracted or poorly trained lifeguards
- No lifeguards on duty
- Defective pool equipment, like drains
- Poor or lack of maintenance
- Inadequate lighting in the pool area
- Slippery pool decks
- Unsanitary conditions
- No pool depth markings
- Lack of swimming ability
- Lack of adult supervision for children
- Neglectful acts by employees
- Intoxication from drugs or alcohol
Any combination of these may factor into a drowning injury or death. Our skilled South Carolina lawyers can partner with other professionals to better assess the case. A thorough investigation can strengthen your personal injury claim.
Who Is Legally Liable for Drowning Accidents?
South Carolina has a premises liability law. Under this law, property owners are legally responsible for accidents on their property. This includes hotels and resorts. Thus, drowning accidents at hotel pools also fall under premises liability law, but properties are only liable if the injuries or drowning deaths are due to the owner’s negligence.
If a property is aware of a potential hazard but they do not take steps to warn guests or to fix the problem, they could be guilty of negligence. With hotel pools, the hazard could be poor maintenance or a lack of adequate warning signs and secure fencing.
Premises liability applies only to invited guests. People staying at the hotel or resort are the obvious example. The law does not apply to trespassers—except children. A pool is deemed an “attractive nuisance.” Hotels must secure their pools to prevent unauthorized access. This may involve a fence with a locking gate.
If the drowning accident is caused by the victim’s own negligence, the hotel property may not be legally liable for damages. A reckless hotel guest engaging in dangerous behavior may not have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. It’s best to speak with a skilled attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
Possible Drowning Injuries at Hotel Swimming Pools
Running around a wet pool deck can lead to slip and fall accidents. These can cause a variety of sprains, fractures, and broken bones. Head and spinal injuries are common in slip and fall accidents. Contaminated pool water can cause illness or chemical burns. Risks of injury are everywhere at hotel pools, including possible drowning injuries.
Notable examples include the following:
- Drowning deaths. The most tragic outcome of drowning is death. Well-trained lifeguards may be able to prevent some of these deaths. If the hotel pool is inadequately staffed, the property owner may be liable for wrongful death.
- Catastrophic brain injuries. An example may be someone hitting their head from a diving accident. If they dive headfirst into shallow water, they may hit their head and suffer traumatic brain injuries. What’s more, if they are rendered unconscious underwater, they could drown.
- Severe brain damage. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can suffer permanent damage. Cerebral hypoxia can lead to long-term disabilities. The victim may suffer from loss of basic functions. They may have learning or memory problems.
- Cardiac arrest. A lack of oxygen leads to respiratory arrest. In turn, this can cause cardiac arrest. This can then lead to a variety of other health problems if the victim survives.
- Paralysis or paraplegia. Brain and spinal cord injuries from pool accidents can cause paralysis. They may also be brought on due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Potential Compensation to Recover Damages
Pursuing a claim against a hotel for a drowning accident is similar to other personal injury cases in South Carolina. You may seek compensation to recover costs related to the injury or drowning death. All cases are different, but common areas include:
- Emergency medical care, like calling an ambulance
- Short-term medical costs, like hospital stays
- Long-term medical costs, like physical therapy
- Lost wages from being unable to work
- Future earning potential
- Travel or trip cancellation costs
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of care, support, and affection
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Funeral and burial costs for drowning deaths
In general, personal injury lawsuits in South Carolina have a three-year statute of limitations. If you want to file a personal injury claim against the hotel or resort, you must do so within three years of the drowning accident.
What to Do If You’re Hurt or a Loved One Dies
The legalities around drowning accidents at South Carolina hotels and resorts can be complicated. Premises liability law states that property owners are responsible for injuries on their property, but the accident must have been caused by their negligence. Large hotel chains and small motels will look for the least costly resolution. You need a skilled South Carolina attorney who will fight to protect your legal rights.
If you are hurt in a drowning accident at a hotel pool, call Pracht Injury Lawyers for a free initial meeting right away. Our staff can provide the compassionate counsel you need. Drowning deaths are like other wrongful deaths in that someone has to speak for the departed. It can be a very emotional time. Sound advice can guide you through this difficult time and help you recover the fair compensation you deserve.