By Pendergast Law on August 26, 2020
With summer in full swing here in Washington, a dip in the pool is a welcome break from the heat. But, as much as we all love a day at the pool, not all of them are up to code. The city of Seattle has several laws regarding pool construction and safety that property owners are required to abide by otherwise, guests can become severely injured, especially if they suffer a spinal cord injury.
The Risk of a Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is central to our ability to experience the world. Via multiple layers of muscles, soft tissue, bones, and nerves, our spinal cords control both our sense of touch and our mobility. When a section of the spinal cord, referred to as a vertebra, becomes damaged due to intense force and pressure, we can become paralyzed below that specific section. If the vertebrae in our necks become injured, then that paralysis can extend all throughout our torsos and limbs, effectively limiting movement to our necks in what is called quadriplegia.
That is why swimmers have to be especially careful when diving into a pool, as a collision with the shallow end can lead to catastrophic spinal cord injuries. In fact, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) has noted that 8.2% of all spinal cord injuries are attributed to recreational activities, making it the fourth leading cause of injuries behind falls, car accidents, and assaults. With swimming pools, this largely comes down to water depth.
Seattle Laws and Water Depth
Among the various laws regarding swimming pools in Seattle, one of the most important is aspects a property owner must pay attention to are water depth and signage.
All guests should be aware of how deep a pool is before they get in, otherwise, they may be at risk of drowning if they enter an area that is too deep for them. The signs are also designed to warn guests as to where they can dive and if they can dive at all. Pools that are less than nine feet in depth should not be jumped in, as there is an increased risk of suffering a spinal cord injury. The shape of the pool must also be considered, as signs may not show that a pool has a dip or curve that might not be apparent to a swimmer.
Diving boards must also be regulated and properly installed to ensure swimmers do not lose their balance or fall against the rim of the pool. For public pools, lifeguards should warn and stop guests from jumping into shallow ends of the pool and always advise them to use the diving board instead.
Violations of these laws can result in catastrophic injuries that completely change a swimmer’s life. They can suffer partial or complete paralysis, have difficulty going about their daily lives, and may even have to change careers to accommodate their disability. This all comes with a mountain of medical bills and emotional turmoil.
However, if your injury was caused by a negligent pool owner, you may be able to pursue compensation through a premises liability claim. Pool owners are required to ensure their property is safe for all guests and, if there is a hazard, they must warn anyone entering the pool or close it until the situation is fixed. This also includes post proper depth signs and ensuring diving boards comply with municipal codes.
To learn how to recover damages from a negligent pool owner, contact the Seattle personal injury attorneys. We are staunch advocates for injured parties and have more than 40 years of experience winning settlements and verdicts for our clients. If we take you on as a client, we can perform an in-depth investigation into your injuries, the pool where you were injured, and the pool owner to determine how you can receive compensation. Call us at 888-539-9211 today to schedule a free consultation.