Swimming pools are a great place to take the kids during the school holidays, or for a day out when the weather is rainy – and swimming is actually an excellent way for the whole family to keep fit. But going to your local swimming pool can be dangerous, as accidents can occur. Did you know that slips, trips and falls are amongst the most common accidents to happen at pools across the country?
It may not sound like you could suffer serious injuries from these types of accidents, but you could sustain fractures, cuts and bruises or even a serious head injury if you slip and fall by a pool – there’s even the risk of paralysis if you suffer a back or neck injury, or death by drowning if you fall into the water and hit your head. If you or somebody you love has been injured, or if a relative has been killed following an accident at a pool, you may be able to make a personal injury claim within three years of the accident.
How do slips, trips and falls happen?
Many slips at pools are caused by uneven flooring or tiles, or flooring which is unsuitable for use by a pool. Slip resistance factor is very important when it comes to pool tiles and flooring, both at the pool side and in the changing rooms and showers. Slip resistance factor is rated from 0 to +65 (very dangerous to very safe.
Other causes of slips, trips and falls can include obstacles left lying at the edge of the pool – for example, floats – or equipment at the pool being poorly maintained – for example diving boards, ladders and so on. If you were rushing and slipped on wet floor by the pool, you may wonder if you’re able to make a personal injury claim. Whilst this may not always be the case, if no lifeguard was on duty to assist you, you may have a valid claim, so it is well worth finding out.
What injuries do slips, trips and falls cause?
Pool slips, and falls can lead to some pretty serious injuries, even fatalities. Minor injuries are, thankfully, much more common than more serious injuries. You could sprain your ankle slipping on wet floor tiles or uneven flooring by the pool or in the changing area, or break your wrist as you put your arms out to brace yourself against falling. You could hit your head on something as you fall and sustain a mild concussion, or be left with cuts and bruises after tripping over obstacles. If somebody trips or slips and falls into the water, there is the risk of drowning.
An accidental drowning could also occur if you slip and fall into a swimming pool and hit your head – or there is the risk of near-drowning.
How common are slips, trips and falls at pools?
It’s hard to say exactly how many people are injured or killed every year following accidents at pools, but the National Water Safety Forum recently published figures which revealed that 321 people died in accidental drownings in the UK in 2015. Although these accidents were not all related to swimming pool slips, trips and falls, the figures did reveal that 82 people drowned after falling into water whilst walking or running. The more attention you pay to your personal safety, the safer you will be at a pool, and it goes without saying that children should not be left unattended, particularly if there is no lifeguard on duty.
Ultimately, the pool operators take responsibility for your safety whilst you are using the pool facilities, so if you are injured after a slip or trip by the pool or in the changing rooms or showers, you should ensure you report this to management as soon as possible. They must record all accidents in a log book and have a duty to report serious accidents to the relevant authorities.
Claiming compensation for pool accidents
Whether you have been injured after an accident at a local pool (or even whilst abroad on a package holiday booked through a UK tour operator), or your child has suffered injuries after a poolside accident, slips, trips and falls are no laughing matter. You could find you’re eligible to claim personal injury compensation, provided you contact a personal injury lawyer within three years of your accident happening. You could find that you are able to claim compensation not only for your injuries, but also for financial losses. For example, if you have suffered a head injury after slipping on wet floor near a pool, you may need to take time off work to recover and for medical treatment.
Accident Advice Helpline can help you claim compensation for lost earnings whilst you’re off work, which can help you to get back on your feet financially. The best way to see if you could make a claim for compensation is to contact us on 0800 689 5659. Our expert advisors are on hand to listen and offer advice that could help you decide whether you wish to proceed with a claim.