A near-drowning in Atlanta, Georgia, made headline news this week, prompting parents and communities to think twice about pool drains before sending children to play in the water. Al.com reports that 5-year-old Raymond V., son of international music and entertainment sensation Usher, was swimming in the pool at their Atlanta home when he got stuck in the pool’s drain. Raymond V. was stuck so firmly in the pool’s drain that his aunt and a housekeeper were unable to remove him from it after they spotted him struggling to get free. Fortunately, two men were inside the Usher residence installing equipment for sound and were able to wrestle Raymond V. free of the drain’s suction. One man was able to administer CPR to Raymond V., and he was then taken to the hospital where he spent the night.
MyFoxTampaBay.com reports that Raymond V’s near-drowning was the result of his arm becoming stuck in the home’s pool drain as he played. The drain’s suction was pulling him so hard that he could not get free, and required the two men to pull him out. The report also notes that Raymond V.’s terrible near-drowning is not an isolated incident, and should remind parents and the community to make sure that pool drain covers are in place and are safe before anyone—child or adult—goes into the water. Any article of clothing, accessories or hair can become stuck in a pool drain, and can render a swimmer helpless.
There are over 1400 public pools in Fulton County, Georgia alone. With such a grave potential for danger, pool drains have been regulated by federal laws passed in 2007. According to the Fulton County government website, the federal law mandated that pool manufactures and pool owners comply with the laws regarding drain covers by 2008. In Fulton County, each and every pool must have at least two drains with covers that comply with the standards established by the federal law. In addition, Fulton County law establishes a permit process to verify that drain covers are compliant with the laws. Fulton County law also establishes a maximum velocity through main drain covers in pools. It is important to note that the term “pool” for the purposes of the law also includes whirlpools, spas, water slides, training pools, wading pools and hot tubs.
Parents, teachers, babysitters and older siblings can, and should, do the best they can to prevent a young child under their care from drowning. Sometimes, however, a pool’s drain has not been installed in compliance with the law, or is just downright dangerous. In these instances, innocent children and adults may face the possibility of drowning or severe and permanent injury. In these cases, compensation can be sought from those responsible for the dangerous condition of the pool drain. Some of the parties that may be responsible for a drowning or near-drowning incident include athletic clubs, municipalities, hotels, homeowners and the drain manufacturers themselves. Grieving families, and those recovering from the shock and horror of a near-drowning, may seek justice against these parties for the loss they have suffered in relation to a dangerous drain.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a pool drain injury, near-drowning or drowning, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve and can represent you and your loved one’s interests in court.