Diving Accidents

In 1947, there were only 2200 Residential swimming pools in the United States. Today there are over 3 Million, over a thousand fold increase. As the number of pools increased by a thousand fold so have the number of injuries from diving into a pool, either from a board, a platform or from the surrounding deck.

There are between 500 to 700 serious spinal injury cases a year resulting from diving injuries in pools. Additionally, there are many accidents where a person drowns as a result of hitting the bottom.

Most swimming pool diving accidents happen from diving into the shallow end of a pool.  64% take place in  in-ground pools and the remaining 36 percent in doughboy or other above ground pools. It is never safe to dive into an above ground pool.

About 80 percent of all injuries take place at depths of 4 feet or less.

Children between 10 and 14 are most likely to have swimming pool diving accidents although boys in general are much more likely to be  injured than girls.

In older boys, alcohol or drugs may be contributing factors.

70 Percent of all dive injuries are from headfirst dives. Less than 10 percent are from diving off of a board.

In many of these cases, there may be comparative negligence on the part of the diver, but a thorough examination of the scene and the accident can often uncover defendants who have been primarily responsible.

The owner of the pool usually has a duty to supervise people in the pool, especially if they are young children. The pool should be constructed in accordance with proper standards, and there should be signs properly showing the depths as well as signs prohibiting running or diving in shallow ends. Other injuries can include children getting trapped in the steps of ladders, improper nonstick paint on the deck, absent rescue preservers or hooks, inattentive or not properly trained lifeguards or too many people in the pool.

Some diving boards have mold on them or do not have nonstick paint, making them slippery.

Owners of private pools typically have homeowners insurance, but it is often note enough to compensate for the catastrophic injuries from diving that often occur.

Oftentimes, the manufacturer or builder of the pool is a defendant because they did not build the pool to safe standards or did not provide adequate warnings.
Swimming pool accidents are very complex and most attorneys are not competent to handle them.

Many experts such as biomechanics and human factors experts need to be retained in order to prove liability and Life Care Planners, Vocational Experts and Multiple Medical experts are needed as the case goes forward.

It’s not unusual for catastrophic cases to require from $200,000 to $500,000 or more just in expenses in order to bring the case to a fair conclusion. Most attorney’s are unable to properly fund these cases so they are presented to good effect.
There are many factual issues to be explored before a swimming pool case can go forward:
  • Were proper warnings given personally or from signs around the pool?
  • Was the pool properly designed including depth markings and slope?
  • What supervision was or should have been present?
  • Was the injured party unaware of the dangers?
  • Was It foreseeable that someone would dive into the pool?
  • Were there past cases where the manufacturer would be on notice that this type pool was a danger?
There are many California Statutes governing swimming pools that can be found here at ca.gov California Swimming Pool Requirements.

I’m Ed Smith, an Experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer since 1982. I’ve been around swimming pools all my life. I was Captain of my High School Swim team and supervised Lifeguards at several Private clubs as well as at Mc Clellan and Mather Air Force bases.
If I can help you or a family member who’s suffered a serious swimming pool or diving accident, please call me at 916.921.6400 in Sacrament.
You can find out the ratings of my firm on Yelp and Avvo, the attorney rating site.

For swimming pool accidents in general, please view my Swimming Pool accident page, swimming pool accidents.

Spinal Cord injuries are catastrophic and are discussed in detail at catastrophic personal injuries and also at www.spinalcord.org.
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