Summer is that special time of year when families plan fun and exciting vacations to escape the heat and humdrum of daily living. In just a few months, Texas residents will be sweltering in 100°F weather and dreaming of a sweet poolside getaway. Depending on the traveler, this could mean absconding to Hawaii’s gorgeous beaches, exploring an east coast cityscape, or taking the family to a local water park. No matter your personal predilection, there is one factor most vacation spots have in common: you’ll be needing a hotel.
Choosing a good hotel is one of the most important steps of vacation planning. Excited vacationers usually weigh rates, perks, and Yelp reviews before making a decision and swiping their credit cards. But there is also the ever-important “pool factor.” You’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing dip in a hotel pool after playing tourist all day – and hotel owners know it. They purposely construct gorgeous pools as selling points for their hotels.
But what happens when someone is injured or drowns while utilizing a hotel swimming pool? And who can be held liable for the accident?
13-Year-Old Boy Found Unresponsive in Hotel Pool
On April 26, 2019, 13-year-old Hoang Minh Phan was taken to University Hospital after his unresponsive body was pulled from a pool at the San Antonio Marriott Northwest. Phan, a student of the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, was in San Antonio for a math and science competition. His schoolmates discovered his floating body at 9:51 p.m. and quickly dove in the pool to retrieve him. They repeatedly tried to resuscitate Phan until EMS arrived and transported the child to the hospital.
Although the students were assigned chaperones, none were present when the incident occurred, nor were they immediately available when the little rescuers raced for help. Sadly, Phan was pronounced dead a few days later.
Police investigators still haven’t determined the cause of the accident, but Phan’s family is planning to sue the Dallas Independent School District, and, depending on the outcome of the investigation, possibly the Marriott hotel.
Texas: Drowning Facts & Figures
According to the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. In fact, it’s estimated that for every child that fatally drowns, another 5 will require emergency medical services for nonfatal drowning injuries.
Near-drowning can lead to several medical complications depending on how long a victim is deprived of oxygen. Non-fatal drowning injuries can include:
- Brain damage
- Cognitive disabilities
- Lung tissue damage
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
The condition of a hotel’s pool area can also facilitate accidents that lead to drowning injuries, such as such as slip and fall accidents, diving mishaps, allergic reactions to pool chemicals, and incidents involving suction systems. Any of these accidents can lead to additional injuries including disembowelment, head injuries, lacerations, evisceration, broken bones, and more.
Premises Liability Laws & Hotel Pools
Texas has very specific premises liability laws that delineate how business owners need to maintain their properties for guests and passersby alike. This law requires hotel owners to take reasonable precautions when it comes to guest safety, and even places a higher standard of care on children.
A hotel is required to maintain their pool area and, if need be, warn guests of any potential dangers by means of noticeable signs. For example, staffers need to put up cones or warning signs if the pool is somehow damaged, the water is too shallow for diving, or there is dangerous litter on the ground (like broken glass). Likewise, hotels can also be held liable if they don’t keep drains in working order or fail to provide appropriate safety equipment.
Pursuing Damages After a Swimming Pool Accident
Hotel staffers are constantly running about and doing their best to cater to the needs of their guests. In the hustle-and-bustle, it’s easy to forget about a damaged drain or a shattered bottle. However, a single moment of forgetfulness or negligence can lead to a poolside accident that results in devastating physical and cognitive injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered fatal or non-fatal drowning injuries at a hotel pool, you may have grounds to pursue damages in a civil lawsuit. To obtain a positive case result, your legal team needs to collect evidence and develop a litigation strategy that proves the hotel staff are directly responsible for your injuries.
You may be able to recover damages in a premises liability lawsuit under the following conditions:
- The defending party owns and controls the property/land
- The defendant’s actions or nonactions are responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries
- The injury or fatality isn’t the result of the plaintiff’s recklessness
- The plaintiff wasn’t intoxicated when the injury was sustained
Seek Legal Help for Your Swimming Pool Injuries Today
Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC if you’ve been injury or lost a loved one in a poolside accident. Our experienced legal team can help you pursue justice and recover compensation that safeguards your standard of living. We can investigate your case, research the hotel’s previous acts of negligence, and litigate on your behalf both in and out of court. With our assistance, you can hold the hotel staff accountable for their choices and prevent similar acts of negligence from happening again.
We’re available 24/7. Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a free case evaluation.