For the safety of yourself and others, here are the first seven things to do after a swimming pool accident:
- Get the injured person out of the water.
- Call 911.
- Administer basic first aid.
- Collect evidence while waiting for help.
- Make sure that everyone who was injured (or who might be injured) gets medical attention.
- Follow the doctor’s orders.
- Consult a swimming pool accident lawyer to consider your legal options.
Getting Injured Parties Out of the Swimming Pool
If someone has sustained a bad enough injury and cannot get out of the water on their own, they may be at risk of drowning or further injury. Get the injured party out of the water, and make sure to keep their head above water so they can breathe.
Only people who have experience with helping injured swimmers, such as a lifeguard, should attempt this step. For an inexperienced swimmer, trying to help someone in distress could endanger both your lives.
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Calling 911 for Swimming Pool Accident Help
The sooner you can get experienced assistance to the scene, the better. Even if the injured person is conscious and feels okay, call 911 anyway. This can be a life-saving precaution. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains:
- Drownings have a higher rate of hospitalization than other types of accident injuries.
- Swimming pool accidents can cause brain damage and other severe injuries if left untreated.
- Drowning is the leading cause of death for very young children, and it remains a major risk for people of all ages.
With water-related injuries, it is best to take no chances. Always call 911 after such an accident to avoid an accidental death.
Swimming Pool First Aid
It may take a few minutes for the paramedics to arrive. In the meantime, do what you can to help the injured person. This might include:
- Ensuring they lie still so as not to aggravate injuries
- Applying pressure to any bleeding wounds
- Performing CPR if they are not breathing
While almost anyone can do the first two tasks, avoid attempting CPR unless you have training and certification. Otherwise, you could do more harm than good.
If you yourself sustained an injury, stay as still and as calm as you can until help arrives.
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Evidence of Liability in Swimming Pool Accidents
The first three of the seven things to do after a swimming pool accident are all related to protecting the accident victim’s physical health. This step—collecting evidence—can preserve their legal rights.
As one of the first people at the accident scene, you have a unique advantage over investigators who will come later (such as the police or the insurance adjusters). You have access to unsullied, fresh evidence like:
- Witnesses who can give you their names and contact information
- The state of the pool as it was at the time of the accident (e.g., the presence/absence of a lifeguard, gate, or broken tiles)
- The injured person’s condition immediately after the accident
If you are able, collect as much of this evidence as you can. Talk to witnesses, and take photos or videos of everything and everyone you see around you. The more material you can gather, the easier it may be to establish grounds for a lawsuit later on.
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After Help Arrives at the Swimming Pool
Once the paramedics arrive, they can take over administering first aid. They will assess the injured parties and determine whether anyone needs to go to the hospital. Trust their judgment: if they say someone needs further treatment or hospitalization, make sure the person goes along with it.
The police will likely respond to the swimming pool accident as well. They will collect the same types of evidence discussed above, so if you were unable to complete that step and gather evidence yourself, much of that evidence will still be preserved in the police record.
When the police question you about the incident, you should:
- Give them your name and contact information for inclusion in their official report, and so they can get in touch with you later if they have to do so
- Answer their questions as honestly and succinctly as possible
- Avoid speculation or embellishments—if you do not know the answer, say so
Treating Swimming Pool Accident Injuries
Treatment for drowning and other pool injuries will depend on what kind of injury the person suffered, how old they are, and how serious the injury is. With life-threatening injuries, the person may require hospitalization and surgery.
To figure out how best to treat your injuries, your doctor may run various tests to come up with a firm diagnosis and treatment plan. Make sure to follow through on whatever they suggest, as it can:
- Save your life
- Prevent unnecessary suffering
- Prove that you really were injured in the swimming pool accident and that you, therefore, deserve compensation from the at-fault party
Swimming Pool Accidents and Your Legal Rights
A swimming pool accident lawyer can help you understand and take advantage of your rights under the law. This includes the right to:
- File a lawsuit against anyone who contributed to your accident through negligent or careless behavior
- Seek financial compensation from the at-fault party to help you rebuild your life after the accident
- Have a lawyer present when the other party’s insurer or anyone else wants to conduct a sit-down interview about the accident
The sooner you get an attorney on board to pursue your case, the more they may be able to do to help you. That includes protecting your rights from those like the insurance company, which may try to undermine your case.
We Can Help After a Swimming Pool Accident
Each of the seven things to do after a swimming pool accident serves an important purpose in preserving your health, your legal rights, or both. For more on how you can recover compensation following a pool injury, contact Kaine Law today and get a free case review from a member of our team.