In June 2022, a 7-year-old girl drowned at a private pool in Teaneck that had been rented out for a party. The latest in a string of pool drowning accidents in New Jersey this year, this incident shows how easily a tragedy can occur when child swimmers are not adequately supervised.
According to a news account, the owners of the pool had been renting it out for private parties for more than a year using an Airbnb-type app called Swimply. On the day in question, there was a party attended by 10 adults and 15 children, including the drowning victim. Sometime after the party broke up, the girl was discovered missing. After nearly an hour of searching by neighbors and police, she was found at the bottom of the pool, which had a maximum depth of eight feet.
Drowning is a possibility in any body of water when child swimmers are involved. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death among children under five and the second leading cause of accidental deaths among children under 14. However, swimming pools present particular dangers, especially during large gatherings where there is no lifeguard or other adult designated to supervise children. In the Teaneck case, the 7-year-old was last seen circling the pool while holding onto the edge. No one noticed she had gone under.
Swimming pool owners owe a duty of care to those using their pools and can be held liable for damages for failing to meet their obligations. Swimming pools are heavily regulated in New Jersey. Residential owners must comply with stringent fencing laws to prevent children from accessing the pool. Owners must also keep the facilities and equipment (including diving boards, slides and ladders) in good working order to ensure safety. Owners who allow hazardous conditions to exist at their pools may face civil suits for negligence. As pool accidents sometimes result in death or serious injury, these claims can reach seven figures in amount of damages. In cases of extreme breach of the duty of care, a pool owner might even face criminal charges for reckless conduct.
However, tragedy can strike even when owners have proper fencing and safe equipment, as the Teaneck pool owners apparently did. An experienced NJ recreational accident attorney can provide further information on swimming pool hazards and the legal claims that may be possible.
Seigel Law in Ridgewood is a highly respected team of attorneys practicing personal injury law throughout Northern New Jersey. We are skilled in obtaining fair compensation for victims in all types of accident cases. If you or a family member has suffered a swimming pool injury, call us at 201-444-4000 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.