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Pool Injuries Like Drowning On the Rise in New York State: What Are Your Personal Injury Rights?

Drownings are the #1 cause of death for children aged 1-4, and the #2 cause of death overall for unintentional injury death for children aged 1-14 in the United States. The latest statistics for drownings in New York State show that drownings went from 212 in 2018, to 184 in 2019 to an all-time high of 242 in 2020. Additionally, there are other common pool accidents like near-drowning, slip and falls on slippery decks, diving accidents and drain injuries.

In this article, we’re going to explore the options that pool incident victims and their families have in the world of personal injury law in New York State, specifically with regards to premises liability, across the three main places that people swim: private swimming pools, public swimming pools and public beaches.

Remember: if you or a loved one have been injured at a pool, and want to explore your legal options for obtaining the maximum possible compensation, give us a call at 845-600-0000 to request a FREE consultation at our offices in Kingston, NY, Poughkeepsie, NY and New Windsor, NY.

How Many Pools and Swimming Areas in New York State and the Mid-Hudson Valley?

According to the latest data, there are 463,992 private swimming pools, 7,400 public or shared swimming pools, and 1,300 public beaches in New York State.

Albany County – 12,744
Allegheny County – 1,870
Bronx – 1,142
Broome – 8,277
Cattaraugus – 2,808
Cayuga – 4,210
Chautauqua – 4,666
Chemung – 4,471
Chenango – 1,741
Clinton – 3,778
Columbia – 3,251
Cortland – 1,670
Delaware – 1,205
Dutchess County – 16,813 Pools
Erie – 39,999
Essex – 1,044
Franklin – 1,737
Fulton – 3,188
Genesee – 2,850
Greene – 1,865
Hamilton – 71

Herkimer – 3,264
Jefferson – 4,939
Kings – 2,693
Lewis – 1,055
Livingston – 2,465
Madison – 2,697
Monroe – 32,626
Montgomery – 2,249
Nassau – 42,817
New York – 355
Niagara – 11,772
Oneida – 11,916
Onondaga – 25,740
Ontario – 4,729
Orange County – 16,464 Pools
Orleans – 1,901
Oswego – 7,391
Otsego – 1,428
Putnam – 4,978
Queens – 5,189
Rensselaer – 9,123

Richmond – 10,284
Rockland – 9,513
Saint Lawrence – 5,389
Saratoga – 12,106
Schenectady – 6,948
Schoharie – 820
Schuyler – 664
Seneca – 1,921
Steuben – 3,896
Suffolk – 57,214
Sullivan – 1,953
Tioga – 2,829
Tompkins – 1,771
Ulster County – 8,070 Pools
Warren – 3,242
Washington – 3,322
Wayne – 6,490
Westchester – 9,431
Wyoming – 2,122
Yates – 816

Here in the Mid-Hudson Valley, we have a total of 41,347 private pools in Dutchess County, for a population of 297,545, there are 0.05 private pools per capita. In Orange County, with a population of 405,941, there are 0.04 pools per capita. And in Ulster County, with a population of 182,319, there are 0.04 pools per capita.

For public pools, there are at least at least a total of eight public pools, including the Town of Washington Town Pool in Millbrook, the River Pool at Beacon, Bear Mountain State Park Pool, Fancher-Davidge Park in Middletown, Sproat Street Park in Middletown, the Andretta Pool in Kingston, the Ulster County Pool Complex in New Paltz, and Moriello Pool in New Paltz.

Your Rights In a Swimming Pool Personal Injury Incident

In New York State, a swimming pool is defined as any edifice that is used for swimming or bathing, containing water over 24 inches deep, whether it’s in-ground, on-ground or above-ground.

  • Homeowners who have a private swimming pool that was built after 2007 must have a independently working pool alarm system that can produce an audible alarm when a child enters the pool.
  • Pools must have a secure barrier on all sides that’s at least 48 inches in height, like fencing, the walls an adjoining house or dwelling. The barrier cannot be climbable.
  • Homeowners must maintain the pool’s surfaces, water, ladders and diving boards, and adjacent areas. If anything is hazardous, the homeowner must warn swimmers and guests about any slick surfaces.
  • Anyone who works on the pool, like an equipment installer company or a maintenance team, may be liable for anything left out of order that contributes to a personal injury

In general, homeowners who own a private swimming pool have a duty to provide a safe environment for guests and swimmers. If this duty is violated through negligence, and it contributes to a personal injury or death (such as by drowning), then the homeowner’s insurance policy is going to be incentivized to minimize its compensation to the victim and their family. That’s why it’s critical to contact a personal injury firm as soon as the extent of the victim’s injuries are known.

What are the Most Common Injuries in a Pool Accident?

  • Drowning and near-drowning: drowning is fatal, but near-drowning can cause serious brain damage and other lasting effects
  • Slip and falls: The decking or tile surfaces around pools can become slick with water, causing people to have violent slip and fall accidents that cause bone fractures, spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries like concussions
  • Diving injuries: Diving into shallow water in the pool can cause severe injuries to a diver’s head, neck and spine, resulting in lacerations, soft tissue injuries or even paralysis and brain damage
  • Pool drain injuries: Improperly covered pool drains can cause powerful suction forces that can become dangerous when they trap swimmers underwater by the hair or extremities, leading to near-drowning or death