A $40 million lawsuit has been filed by the family of 6 year old T.J. Mister, who drowned at summer camp this last July. While the family seeks answers regarding their son’s death, the lawsuit brings to light the serious nature of swimming pool safety and the dangers that are involved. From the hidden risks that swimming pools hold to the value in seeking legal action, here’s what you should keep in mind.
A variety of hidden dangers
Regarding the drowning of T.J. Mister, the lawsuit states that the boy’s mother, “Olga Mister… informed (the camp) that T.J. could not swim, required a life vest when in the water, and offered to provide a life vest for his use during swimming activities.” The suit further goes on to say that “T.J. began to drown shortly after entering the pool,” and that “none of the defendants were watching the pool and none observed T.J. as he struggled…” While T.J.’s case alone highlights the importance of supervision around swimming pools, it further sheds light on the fact that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
An average of 379 children under the age of 15 die in reported drownings linked to pools or spas each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. With the statistics climbing in the United States, there’s no question that there needs to be additional safety measures taken when it comes to swimming pool safety — from increased supervision, the use of alarm systems, fences, and more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, points out that there are a variety of factors that can contribute to swimming pool drownings — including not knowing how to swim, missing/ineffective fences around the water, and lack of supervision, to name just a few. The CDC further notes that some people have a higher risk of drowning — including children, and those who experience seizures or certain medical conditions.
Seeking legal action
The drowning of T.J. Mister isn’t the only incident which highlights the dangers of swimming pools, as another case underlines that severe injury is also a very real possibility. According to one TribLive article published in March of 2022, a jury awarded $19 million in damages to a now 29 year old Michael Fraser, who was left paralyzed from an accident in a friend’s swimming pool back in 2013. The jurors found that homeowners Robert and Laura O’Black were negligent and liable for the injuries that Fraser sustained. Fraser, who was 21 at the time, broke his neck after diving onto a raft (which was not suitable to be used in pools) in the family’s swimming pool. Since the accident, Fraser testified that he has had multiple surgeries, is confined to a wheelchair, and is unable to perform most daily tasks without assistance, according to the article.
Fraser’s case shines a light on the fact that even adults can fall victim to the dangers involved with swimming pools. Due to the major impact that a swimming pool injury or death can have on an individual and their family, taking legal action is imperative when seeking both justice and compensation deserved. In regard to drowning instances, enlisting the help of a lawyer who specializes in drowning accidents is the best way to ensure that a case is handled properly, and that the maximum amount of compensation is secured. This is especially important, as reputable personal injury lawyers are familiar with the tricks of insurance companies (which oftentimes tend to be more focused on revenue than helping the injured).
Swimming pools are often deemed the best part of summer, though it’s imperative to keep in mind that they can also be very dangerous — as highlighted by various lawsuits. In addition to the risks of death by drowning, severe injuries can leave victims with life-altering conditions, each of which underline the sheer importance of swimming pool safety and awareness.
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