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Chicago Swimming Pool Accident and Drowning Attorneys

Swimming pools are supposed to be areas for play, parties and a summer well spent. But unfortunately, swimming pools can also be the source for a family’s greatest tragedy. It takes just a few seconds for water to transform from an area of fun into something lethal. Accidents in swimming pools, near-drowning and drowning can change a person’s life – and a family’s future – in literally a breath.

Not only does a swimming pool accident in Illinois cause tremendous physical and emotional damage, it can also cripple a family financially. That’s why families who are dealing with a drowning or near-drowning situation need to turn to an expert personal injury attorney. Since 2000, more than 400 families in Cook County have had a family member die in a drowning accident. Statewide, that number is nearly 700. Too many people are dying in the water. 

You Have Drowning and Swimming Pool Accidents Questions – We Have Answers

Does Illinois have any laws for public pools or swimming areas?

Yes.  Illinois’ Swimming Facility Act outlines statewide regulations for all public pools. Such regulations include a sign must be posted at the public pool stating the maximum bather load, when lifeguards must be provided, signs posted if lifeguards do not have to be provided, a sign with pool regulations, water quality standards, pool design standards and safety standards. Swimming Facility Act.

Additionally, under the Swimming Facility Act, all public pool areas must be completely enclosed by a protective structure that meets the following specifications: (1) is at least four feet high and does not allow for footing or climbing; (2) does not have a vertical clearance beneath the bottom of the barrier greater than four inches; (3) has no openings in the fencing larger than four inches in height or width; and (4) any entrances to the pool area have lockable self-closing and self-latching doors or gates. Swimming Facility Act 820.200.

Furthermore, under the Private Swimming Pool Enclosure Act (passed by the 90th General Assembly), residential pools must be entirely surrounded by a barrier that is at least 3.5 feet high. This rule does not apply to hot tubs or aboveground pools that are 3.5 feet or taller.  However, to be sure pool owners should check local pool fencing guidelines to ensure that their pools satisfy legal requirements.

Contact our law firm today at (312) 757-777. Speak with a lawyer right away — before speaking with any auto insurance provider if possible. Other steps you can take now!

What are the common causes of drowning accidents?

Common causes of drowning include defective or inadequate safety equipment, inadequate lifeguard staff, ineffective barriers around the swimming pool, inadequate warning signs against diving, defective swimming drains, private homeowners negligence, lack of warning signs and contaminated water.

How can I make our private pool safe for my family and guests?

If you have a pool on your property there are several steps that you may take to safeguard you, your family and guests from personal injury or drowning.  Perhaps the most important step is installing several types of protective equipment.  Putting up a pool fence, that is the correct height to prevent children from climbing over them, and a pool cover is very important. When installing a pool fence, make sure that it is four sided and that it locks and latches correctly.  A pool cover should be installed to withstand the pressure of a falling child so that it does not buckle beneath them.

Additionally, you may install pool alarms that are placed on the fence or entryway to the pool, and some even sense motion inside the pool itself.

Finally, post signs that say how deep the pool is in certain areas, and warns swimmers about the risks of diving, running near the pool, and other potential hazards. It is important to always watch children when they are swimming or near the pool area. Appoint someone as the “designated watch” to keep an eye on children at all times. 

If my child went to a friend’s house and almost drowned in their pool and now has injuries, what legal steps may I take?

The most important step if a child has been injured in a near-drowning accident is to seek medical attention.  Once you have taken the proper health precautions contact a personal injury attorney to advise you on your rights after such a tragedy.

If your child was injured because of the negligence of the pool’s owners you may be entitled to damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages incurred by the accident.  In Illinois, negligence is defined as “the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do or doing something which a reasonably careful person would not do.”[1] In order to prove negligence the plaintiff (injured person) must prove: (1) that the defendant owed a duty of care; (2) that the defendant breached that duty; and (3) that the breach caused the plaintiff’s harm.[2]

Near-drowning accidents may be complicated and are very emotional, an experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and help you determine your best course of action.

What if I was injured in a pool accident because of defective pool equipment?

In many swimming pool accident cases, a malfunctioning product or a defective design may be partially responsible for the injury or death. For example, defective swimming drains, inadequate warnings, inadequate pool design, or faulty gate latches are often attributed to accidental drowning. In these instances, a product liability claim may be necessary to hold the designers or manufacturers of the products liable for the damages. A product liability case arises when a person is injured as a result of a defective and unreasonably dangerous product.

If you have injuries resulting from a pool accident you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to analyze the information you have gathered, provide guidance and advise you whether you have a viable product liability claim. 

Swimming Pool Attorneys

The Lamber Goodnow legal team, and the legal professionals at its partner firms represent families in Chicago and across Illinois in swimming pool accident and drowning claims. We’ve successfully handled these cases, resulting in favorable outcomes in our clients’ favor.

We’ll help you understand your rights – from what your landlord or a property owner is obligated to provide, to what your insurance (or their insurance) should do in the event of an emergency. Our team – which includes not only attorneys but also medical experts – can help determine liability, outline the potential for your case, and help you and your loved ones get the care you so desperately need.

In matters like these, liability isn’t simply a matter of who was in or near the pool. Fencing, latches, gates, door locks and more are all barriers that exist to prevent an injury or death to a child. We’ll investigate whether the property’s owner, manager, or responsible party acted responsibly and within the law. 

Why You Need to Act Quickly

Too often, we think of drowning as a problem for children – the fact is that adults are critically injured in pool accidents every day. Time is precious after a pool accident. Every second of oxygen deprivation can further injure the brain and cause a domino effect of physical results.

Having an attorney on your side from the beginning is critical. We will not only work with you to make sure you’re receiving proper medical care, we’ll handle communication with insurance companies so you can focus on what matters most – your family, rehabilitation, and the future. You shouldn’t have to choose between taking care of your family and talking to insurance companies, or making critical decisions that affect your family’s future.

When you call us, our team will start an investigation. We’ll get as much information from the accident scene as possible – photos, interviews, medical reports, and more. We’ll research the property, its ownership and maintenance history, and help determine liability.

We’ll also help determine your loved one’s future care and needs. Our experts will develop an estimate of healthcare costs, present and future, as well as other rehabilitation, life care and occupational therapy costs. We partner with world-renowned medical experts who can determine the full scope of injuries incurred, and the impact those injuries will have on your loved one and your family. 

Understanding Our No-Fee Promise

When you call us, you’re under no obligation to hire us. Our initial consultation is a chance for you to explain what’s happened, and for us to ask you a few questions. It doesn’t cost you a penny.

If you decide to hire us, we’ll launch our investigation and develop a strategy for your case. You won’t pay any fees or costs out of pocket to us. In fact, we only get paid if and when we recover money for you through a settlement or a verdict.

To talk to an attorney, please call (312) 757-777 now. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


[1]  IPI (Civil) No. 10.01 (2006 ed.).

[2]  Widlowski v. Durkee Foods, 138 Ill. 2d 369, 562 N.E.2d 967 (1990).