Swimming pools are fun places to hang out, especially for children. Going swimming is also a fantastic source of exercise for people of all ages. You deserve to enjoy a day at the pool without being at risk of avoidable accidents, injuries or illnesses.
Pool related injuries are often caused by falls or damaged tiles and can have severe and even fatal consequences. Contaminated pool water and excessive amounts of chlorine can lead to sickness. Children are particularly vulnerable because they are less careful and swallow more water.
Common injuries at the pool include cuts and bruises, back injuries, fractures, chemical burns and poisoning. The number of swimming pool accidents continues to fall in the UK, and most injuries are usually minor. However, 137 children aged 15 or younger drowned in swimming pools between 1993 and 2003 (source).
If you or your child suffered a swimming accident because of somebody’s negligence, you might be entitled to make a swimming pool accident claim. The compensation you might receive depends on the type of injuries you sustained and how they affected your life.
Do I have a valid swimming pool accident claim?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers guidance on managing health and safety issues to safeguard visitors and employers. Swimming pool owners and operatives have a duty to:
- provide suitable lifeguard support
- ensure the water is free of parasites and safe to use
- make sure the area around the pool is free from hazards
If you suffered an injury in a swimming pool accident because the responsible party breached their duty of care, you are entitled to claim compensation. Nonetheless, you will need to be able to prove that the accident directly caused your injuries and affected your life in some way.
Therefore, you should collect as much evidence as possible at the accident site and have a medical certificate attesting to your injuries.
An experienced solicitor can assist you with gathering proof and getting any available witness statements. They will also arrange a free visit with a certified physician, who will assess the extent of your injuries.
To build a strong claim, you should take the following steps:
- support your claim with photos of your injuries and your recovery process
- take pictures of the accident site, trying to capture the hazard that caused your injury
- keep a written record of the events and how they affected your life
- get contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident
- keep proof of your expenses; this includes medical treatments, transportation costs, rehabilitation, care costs and lost wages
- get a medical report of your injuries
Another important rule is that you have to start your claim no later than three years after the swimming pool accident. After the three years have passed, you might no longer have the right to ask for compensation.
In certain situations, the deadline for making a claim might vary. For example, when claiming on behalf of children, you have until they turn 18.
It is, however, advisable to start your claim as soon as possible. This way, all the details of how the events unfolded are still fresh, and witnesses are more likely to provide statements. You might also feel more motivated to fight for your compensation rights.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
What are the most common causes of swimming pool accidents?
When you go to a swimming pool with friends or family, you want to have a good, carefree time. Getting injured in an accident is the last thing you might expect. This might not only ruin your day but change your life forever.
Many hazards might lead to a swimming pool accident or injury. Some of the most common causes of injuries in or around a swimming pool are:
Slips, trips and falls
Walking surfaces around swimming pools are always wet, but that doesn’t mean a fall can’t be prevented. Swimming pool slips are frequent and might have severe consequences. Pool owners and operators can take some steps to minimise the risk of a slip, trip and fall injury:
- provide non-slip surfaces
- make sure floors around the pool have a good grip and proper drainage
- pool supervisors should prevent people from running
- there should be sufficient lighting around the pool area
- clear signs should be posted to inform visitors of the dangers of a slip and fall
- make sure there are no loose or damaged tiles around the swimming pool
If the flooring is not kept as safe as reasonably possible and you suffer an injury after a swimming pool slip, you might be entitled to claim compensation from the liable party.
The water in swimming pools should always get treated with chemicals to kill bacteria and other microscopic bugs that might cause sickness. If not properly cleaned, you can contact various germs that can make you sick, like Cryptosporidium, Legionella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) or Giardia.
The use of too much chlorine or other disinfectants, on the other hand, can be poisonous. High levels could cause severe skin and eye irritations, with long-term implications. Chemical burns may cause permanent scarring.
Drowning and diving incidents
Jumping into a pool whose water level is deceptively shallow could cause severe head and spine injuries. Children, in particular, are at risk for drowning. Pools must always have appropriate depth markers, lifeguards and signposts.
Standard drains exert 350 pounds of pressure, making it impossible to free yourself once you get trapped. Faulty pool drainage may suck in a swimmer’s hair, bathing suit or body parts. Some of the greatest dangers include:
- Hair entrapment. Swimmers with long hair are particularly vulnerable to tangling in a defective drain outlet.
- Limb entrapment. A swimmer’s arms or legs may get lodged in an improperly covered drain. It may be impossible to pull your extremities free from the suction, even after turning off the pump. This may cause broken bones and amputations.
- Body entrapment. Any part of the body can get caught and held down by the powerful suction of drainage. This can cause soft tissue injuries and internal organ damage. If a young child gets trapped and doesn’t get freed promptly, they could drown.
- Fixture entrapment. Bracelets, bathing suits, necklaces or hair ties may get caught in drains, leading to fatal incidents.
Damaged pool or surrounding areas
Damaged tiles within the swimming pool and surrounding areas may cause cuts and lacerations. Water chemicals or contaminants may exacerbate such injuries.
Pool owners must follow the health and safety regulations to prevent the above accidents. If they neglect their duty of care, causing you to suffer a swimming pool accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
To find out if you have a valid claim, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal advisor. They will listen to the details of your accident and advise you on what to do next.
Can I claim for a swimming pool accident on holiday?
Not only swimming accidents that happen in the UK are covered by personal injury compensation laws. If you go on holiday abroad and suffer an injury in a swimming pool, the package holiday company may be liable.
Holidays are supposed to be a time of fun and recreation. If you suffer an injury in a swimming pool accident, you will probably want to know who was responsible and how you can get compensation for your pain and suffering.
The Package Travel Regulations 1992 guarantee protection to holidaymakers who book package holidays involving combinations of flights, accommodation and other services such as car rental. To be insured under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, your holiday package must meet the following criteria:
- was sold or offered for sale in the UK
- was sold at an inclusive price
- must include at least two of accommodation, flight or other tourist services
- must cover at least 24 hours or include overnight accommodation
The travel regulations state that the tour operator is responsible for ensuring proper services and reasonable standards to holidaymakers. Swimming pool facilities must be accurately maintained and have functional life-saving equipment on site. Therefore, the holiday company may hold liability if you get ill or injured in a swimming pool accident without being at fault.
You usually have three years for making a swimming pool accident under the Package Travel Regulations 1992. The rules are different for children and people with mental disabilities.
If you have an accident outside the UK and are not protected by the Package Travel Regulations 1992, the time limit for starting a holiday accident claim depends on the country where the accident happened and might be notably shorter. For example, the time limit is usually one year in Spain.
An experienced solicitor will know what limitation date applies to your case. For more information, you can call 0800 678 1410. A legal adviser will let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.
What are the most common swimming pool injuries and illnesses?
A swimming pool injury can be minor, and you might overlook the accident. Other times, you might be at risk for severe damage and illness.
The most common injuries occur due to a slip, trip and fall, but many other swimming accidents can cause you to get ill or injured. Children are especially at risk for swimming pool slips and are more sensitive to water contaminants and chemicals.
The most common injuries reported after swimming pool accidents include:
- cuts and bruises
- broken bones
- head and spine injuries
- joint dislocations
- sprains and strains
- hypoxia due to drowning, which may damage multiple organs
- skin and eye burns
If there are contaminants in the water, like bacteria and parasites, they may cause serious illnesses, the most commonly reported being:
- Acute gastrointestinal illness (may cause diarrhoea or vomiting)
- Skin illnesses (rashes)
- Acute respiratory disease (such as cough or congestion)
Common water germs include:
- Cryptosporidium, which causes acute gastrointestinal illness
- Legionella, which may cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
- Pseudomonas affects the skin, ears and may cause respiratory illness
- Escherichia coli (E. coli) affects the gastrointestinal tract
- Algal toxins can affect the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal system
If you suffer an injury or contract a disease at the swimming pool, make sure to visit a healthcare professional. They will document your injuries or illness and provide a medical record. This will serve as essential evidence if you decide to claim swimming pool accident compensation.
How much compensation could my swimming pool accident claim be worth?
The amount of compensation you can ask for in a swimming pool accident strictly depends on the extent of your injuries, how they affected your life and the financial losses you have incurred. Your solicitor will have the expertise to advise you on a suitable amount that you might settle on.
In every personal injury claim, the compensation you receive will cover your economic losses, as well as any nonfinancial damages, called general damages.
You are entitled to claim compensation for:
- medical expenses, including rehabilitation and physiotherapy
- transportation costs to and from medical appointments
- lost wages, including future losses
- loss of earning ability
- pain and suffering
- psychological trauma
- life quality decline
- loss of prospects and enjoyment
The compensation for financial losses is a lot easier to calculate. It involves adding up all the costs you incurred related to your injury. That’s why it’s fundamental to keep all the receipts, bank statements and other documents as proof of your financial losses.
It’s more complicated to arrive at a suitable compensation amount for general damages. The main guide when calculating compensation awards for such subjective losses is the recommendations published by the Judicial College. According to their guidelines, you might get:
- £3,710 to £8,950 for moderate illness with significant discomforts such as pain and cramps
- £36,060 to £49,270 for poisoning accompanied by severe pain, vomiting, fever
- Up to £61,410 for chemical injuries
- Up to £16,380 for minor injuries like cuts, rashes and bruises
- £16,860 to £26,050 for leg injuries that do not resolve completely
- £36,770 to £56,180 for arm injuries leading to permanent disability
- £85,150 to £140,870 for moderate head injuries affecting mental abilities
- £264,650 to £379,100 for very severe head injuries involving sensory impairment and becoming dependent on others
To get a better idea of your compensation prospects, you can contact a solicitor by calling free on 0800 678 1410.
Can I make a swimming pool injury claim on behalf of my child?
Parents and legal guardians are entitled to claim compensation on behalf of their children. They need to be appointed by the court as a litigation friend, also known as a next friend.
Usually, you must start a personal injury claim within three years from the day of the accident. However, if the victim is a child, the three-year limitation date is extended until they turn 21.
A litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf until they turn 18. After that, they have another three years to start a swimming pool accident claim in their own name.
You will need medical evidence to confirm the extent of a child’s injuries. Based on the severity of their injuries, your solicitor will be able to estimate a suitable compensation amount. The payment will cover:
- special damages: reimbursement of any financial expenses related to the accident, including hospitalisation, rehabilitation, adaptations to the house
- general damages: compensation for the physical and psychological pain caused by the accident and any changes in the quality of life
If you can’t agree on a settlement with the defendant, a Judge will settle the case in a court hearing. As the child’s litigation friend, you will need to produce evidence attesting to their injuries and how they affected the child’s life.
The compensation money awarded to a child will be held in a Personal Injury Trust, in a Court bank account. The child doesn’t have access to their compensation before turning 18. The money held in the trust fund will also gain interest, which will be paid to your child when they turn 18.
If you think your child may have a valid swimming pool accident claim, don’t hesitate to contact a legal adviser. They will advise you on how to proceed in order to get the compensation you deserve. For more information, call free on 0800 678 1410 or fill in our online form to receive a call back.
How long do I have to make a compensation claim?
In the UK, most personal injury claims need to be made within three years from the day you were injured, according to Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980. If you miss the limitation date, your claim becomes statute-barred, and you will no longer be able to claim compensation.
The date of knowledge is the day you became aware of your injury. Most often, this will coincide with the day of the accident. Occasionally, the claimant may have delayed symptoms such as whiplash or a concussion. In this case, the three-year countdown starts from the date of knowledge.
There are a number of exceptions to the three-year rule:
- Injury claims on behalf of children can be made at any point until they turn 18. Afterwards, they have another three years to claim on their own.
- Close family members can claim compensation on behalf of a fatal accident victim. They have three years from the day the person died, even if the victim previously started a claim of their own.
- If a victim lacks the mental ability to make a claim, a litigation friend can claim in their name with no time limits.
- You can make a claim after getting injured in a foreign country, but the limitation date can vary between countries.
You or a litigation friend should start the legal proceeding as soon as possible after an accident. This way, all the details regarding the accident and how it affected your life are still fresh, and it will be easier to get witness statements and gather other supporting evidence.
Will my claim be made on a No Win No Fee basis?
If you suffered any kind of injury in a swimming accident without being at fault, you might be able to start a compensation claim. A solicitor will review your swimming pool accident, free of charge. If they decide you have a valid claim and fair chances of success, they will offer you a no win no fee service.
The most important advantage of choosing a no win no fee claim is that it makes personal injury claims available to anyone, regardless of their financial status. The claimant will not have to pay any upfront legal fees or hidden charges. Furthermore, if your solicitor is not able to secure a successful claim, you will not have to pay a single penny.
Reaching a conditional fee agreement gives you the certainty your claim has a significant chance of success, and you’re not just wasting time and money. Because you don’t pay anything if your claim fails, your solicitor has all the interest in securing the compensation you deserve.
If your claim is successful, they will take a success fee, which can be up to 25% of your settlement. This fee will be discussed and agreed upon before starting your claim.