A recent tragedy at a popular resort in the Lake of the Ozarks highlights the serious safety threat posed by hotel swimming pools, particularly those that are not properly supervised. Sadly, thousands of people are seriously or fatally injured in swimming pool accidents each year. The Chicago Tribune is reporting the latest swimming pool accident, resulting in the double drowning death of an East Chicago man and his son.
According to the report, 21-year-old Ali Shaltaf went for a late-night swim on July 24, 2011, at the Lodge of the Four Seasons pool in Branson. Unfortunately, he did not know how to swim and immediately began struggling as he entered the 8-foot deep section of the pool. The boy’s father, Khalid Shaltaf, jumped in to help, but he was not a very strong swimmer either. Neither of the men ever resurfaced.
One of the most concerning factors of this double drowning is the fact that no lifeguards were on duty. When a swimming pool accident happens, the first few minutes are critical to avoid complications resulting from oxygen deprivation, brain injuries, or death. In this case, nearly twenty minutes passed before hotel workers finally passed by and noticed the men submerged underwater. By that time, it was too late to save either of them. Ali was pronounced dead at the scene, and Khalid died in the hospital the next morning.
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Our premise liability lawyers know that hotel swimming pool owners have a legal duty to provide their guests a safe swimming environment. If the carelessness of a hotel employee results in injuries or death, victims and their families may have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit and be reimbursed for pain and suffering, lost wages, or medical bills. A civil lawsuit is also an effective way to hold negligent parties accountable so that future accidents will be avoided.
This double drowning should serve as a reminder of the inherently dangerous nature of swimming pools, especially those that are not properly maintained or supervised. Even if a drowning death does not occur, swimming pool accidents can result in serious complications, including loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, brain damage, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries.
Federal and state laws apply to public swimming pools, providing a remedy for injured swimmers and their families. Negligent supervision, defective equipment, and failure to post warning signs in deep areas of the pool can all lead to a premise liability lawsuit. We continue to advocate on behalf of swimming pool victims around the country and work closely with our clients to address their injuries and medical needs.
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Swimming accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from improper supervision or pool maintenance to defective equipment. When a pool drowning happens, lives can be forever changed in a matter of seconds. We have experience working with swimming pool victims and their families and realize that swimming pool owners owe guests an extra duty of caution. We firmly believe that they should be held accountable when their actions result in serious permanent injury or death.