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Chicago Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer

Swimming pool ownership carries a weight of responsibility to ensure public safety, whether the owner is a public entity or a private citizen. The Chicago swimming pool accident attorney team at Levin & Perconti represents those who have been injured or lost a loved one because of a swimming pool owner’s negligence.

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Swimming pool accidents can lead to serious and fatal injuries, the most common of which is drowning. Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these drownings occur in swimming pools. 

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti help injured individuals and families hold careless pool owners accountable.

Illinois Swimming Pool Drowning Statistics

According to media reports gathered by Total Aquatic Programming, the following numbers of individuals drowned in swimming pools from 2008 to 2020: 

  • 2,638 children ages 4 and under 
  • 1,044 children ages 5 to 12 
  • 365 children ages 13 to 19 
  • 1,656 adults 

A total of 744 of these drownings occurred in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 130 accidental drownings occurred in Illinois in 2020. 

The CDC reports that black children ages 10 to 14 drown at 7.6 times higher than the rate of white children in the same age group. Black children are more likely to drown in public pools, and white children are more likely to drown in private pools.

Swimming pool

Types of Injuries from a Swimming Pool Accident

Slippery surfaces, pool components, and the water itself are inherent hazards in swimming pools that can lead to numerous injuries, many of which are life-threatening. 


Drowning occurs when water is inhaled into the lungs. In many cases, this is fatal. When a drowning is not fatal, it may be referred to as a near-drowning or a non-fatal drowning. Drowning deprives the brain of oxygen. According to the Merck Manual, oxygen deprivation may lead to the following: 

  • Permanent brain damage 
  • Aspiration pneumonia 
  • Acute respiratory distress 

Some symptoms may not be evident until hours later. Many drowning victims may also experience hypothermia. 

Head Injuries 

Head injuries may occur as a result of slipping and falling on wet, slippery surfaces surrounding the swimming pool. Head injuries include skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. Concussions can be mild or severe and are caused by a sudden jarring of the brain within the skull. 

Traumatic brain injuries can result in personality changes, cognitive impairments, and physical disabilities, all of which may be temporary or permanent. 

Spinal Cord Injuries 

Swimming pool spinal cord injuries most commonly occur when swimmers dive into shallow water and hit their heads on the bottom of the pool. Spinal cord injuries can result in permanent paralysis beginning at the point of injury and extending downward.   

Drain Suction Injuries 

Drain entrapment occurs when a swimmer’s hair, limb, or body becomes stuck to a pool drain due to excessive suction. According to The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, this can occur when the drain cover is missing, broken, or aged, or when the pump runs at speeds that exceed manufacturer-set maximums.  

This suction can be strong enough to entrap children and adults, but children experience the highest risks. Potential injuries include drowning, hypovolemic shock, and disembowelment. 


The CDC has found that routine inspections resulted in immediate closure of 11.8% (1 out of 8) of public pools and 15.1% (1 out of 7) of public hot tubs because of health hazards. 

The most common illnesses from recreational water include diarrhea, vomiting, rash, and acute respiratory illness, but more serious illnesses can develop, such as: 

  • Legionella 
  • Norovirus 
  • E. Coli 
  • Giardia 
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria

How can swimming pool accidents be prevented?

Most swimming pool accidents can be prevented by providing proper supervision and following established maintenance and installation guidelines. 

Lack of a Secure Enclosure 

Swimming pools without enclosures are known as attractive nuisances because they attract children, who may play near the pool or attempt to swim in the pool without supervision.  

Inadequate Supervision 

Public pools must provide lifeguards to supervise all swimming activities. Private pool owners should provide attentive supervision and never allow anyone to swim alone in their pools. 

Slippery Surfaces 

Improper material used in the walkways surrounding a swimming pool can become slippery when wet and create a fall hazard for anyone approaching the pool or just walking beside it. 

Defective Diving Boards 

Defective diving boards are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries and can be hazardous if they have the following characteristics: 

  • Improperly positioned 
  • Located above shallow water 
  • Broken 
  • Slippery
Diving board

Can victims sue after a drowning accident?

Swimming pool accidents fall under a category of personal injury law known as premises liability, which applies to injuries that occur on public or private property. In premises liability cases, you may sue the owner of the premises if the owner’s negligence caused or contributed to the injury.  

What is negligence? 

Negligence in premises liability cases is the failure of a property owner to exercise reasonable care in preventing injuries. To prove negligence, you must be able to show the following: 

  • The owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care. 
  • The owner breached the duty of care. 
  • An injury occurred that would not otherwise have occurred. 
  • The breach of duty is the proximate cause of the injury. 

In cases involving an attractive nuisance such as a swimming pool, failure by a property owner to provide an enclosure constitutes negligence because a reasonable person should be able to foresee that children would be drawn to it.

Who is liable for a swimming pool drowning accident?

In most cases, the property owner is liable, whether the pool is public or private. In the case of a public swimming pool, a municipality may be the liable party.  

Privately-owned swimming pools are the responsibility of the homeowner. A claim against a homeowner would usually be filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy.  

Additional liable parties may also include a pool maintenance company or a defective product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, depending on the cause of the accident.

Damages Available for a Drowning Accident

If you or your child has been injured or tragically killed in a swimming pool accident, you may be entitled to recover significant damages, depending on the extent of the injuries. 

Economic Damages 

Economic damages are documented monetary losses that stem from the accident, including the following: 

  • Medical expenses 
  • Domestic services 
  • Lost wages 
  • Loss of earning capacity 

Economic damages can include any monetary loss you can verify, including projected future costs. If you are permanently disabled, this can include your projected lifetime lost earnings. 

Non-Economic Damages 

Non-economic damages are subjective damages related to your quality of life, including the following: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Disfigurement 
  • Loss of capacity to enjoy life 
  • Loss of society 

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages may be available if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the conduct of the defendant leading to the injury was reckless or deliberate. Punitive damages are not available in all cases. 

Wrongful Death Damages 

Like other personal injury damages, wrongful death damages can include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The economic and non-economic damages available in wrongful death cases also include damages related to the death.   

Economic Wrongful Death Damages 

  • Funeral expenses 
  • Burial expenses
  • Loss of future income 
  • Loss of services 

You may have the right to also file a survival claim, in which case you can recover the medical bills of the deceased and any other losses for which the deceased could have filed a claim had they lived. 

Non-Economic Wrongful Death Damages 

Non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim include the following: 

  • Loss of companionship 
  • Loss of guidance 
  • Loss of support 

If you file a survival claim, you may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased.

Margaret P. Battersby Black working at desk

Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois

The statute of limitations for most wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois is two years from the date of death, but there are exceptions. For example, if your claim is against a government entity, such as the city of Chicago, the statute of limitations may be reduced to one year. 

Regardless of the statute of limitations, it is important to contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your loved one has succumbed to swimming pool injuries. This will allow your attorneys sufficient time to prepare a strong case ahead of the filing deadline. 

The experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti can advise you of the statute of limitations that applies to your case.

How can a Chicago swimming pool accident lawyer help me?

The Chicago swimming pool accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti provide a free, no-obligation case review and a thorough investigation into your case. During the investigation, we will reconstruct the incident, retrieve and review your medical records, and identify all liable parties. 

With this information, we will aggressively pursue the highest available compensation on your behalf. If necessary, we will take your case to court. 

Remember that time is limited. Contact a Chicago swimming pool accident lawyer today for a free consultation.

Pool Accident FAQs

Below are answers to our most frequently asked questions. 

How much does a Chicago swimming pool accident attorney cost? 

Our law firm offers a contingency fee arrangement to ensure accident victims and their families have access to quality representation. This means you can hire the compassionate and skillful Levin & Perconti swimming pool accident Chicago lawyers with no risk and no upfront costs.  

What if my child wandered into the neighbor’s pool without permission? 

If the pool was not properly enclosed or it was otherwise accessible to the child, the premises owner may be liable because a reasonable property owner should have foreseen this circumstance and enclosed the pool.   

Should I accept the insurance company’s offer? 

Early settlement offers are usually lowballed offers that will not cover your damages. It is important to understand the lifetime costs of your injuries and to consult an attorney prior to accepting any offer.  

Do most cases go to trial? 

Most cases settle before they go to trial. A settlement is usually in the best interest of all parties involved. Our goal at Levin & Perconti is to help you recover the maximum compensation available. If going to trial is necessary in order to accomplish this, we are always prepared to do so. 

What evidence will I need for the initial consultation? 

The more information you provide at the initial consultation, the more accurately we can assess your case, and the sooner we can get started should we accept your case. Please bring medical records, medical bills, witness contact information, images, and any other documentation you have gathered, though we can assist you with this process if needed.

Why choose Levin & Perconti for your swimming pool accident claim?

Levin Perconti team meeting

Levin & Perconti has been defending the rights of injured individuals since our establishment in 1992. Our attorneys are nationally recognized and have won over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our deserving clients, including the following:    

  • $6 million settlement for the families of six children who died in an apartment fire on Chicago’s north side 
  • $775,000 settlement for the family of a three-year-old boy who fell out of a third-story window to his death 
  • $2.3 million settlement for two boys severely burned in a Chicago Housing Authority apartment fire 
  • $1 million for a teenager shot in front of a Chicago Housing Authority building due to inadequate security 

Our attorneys regularly receive positive feedback from our clients, such as the following: 

“I regularly recommend individuals to retain Levin & Perconti for their injury cases. I do so because the firm is no less than extraordinary. L&P attorneys, including Julie Murphy, have immense trial experience and the firm achieves rich jury verdicts and settlements for their clients. Importantly, L&P cares about their clients and treats them with enormous respect and compassion.” —David S. Lipschultz  

Our accomplishments have gained the respect and admiration of our peers, who have recognized our attorneys with prestigious honors such as Super Lawyers, American Association for Justice Leaders Forum, and Fellows of the Litigation Council of America. 

Our founders Steven Levin and John Perconti are regularly asked to speak at litigation conferences throughout the country. 

With a Levin & Perconti attorney on your side, you can rest assured that you will receive compassionate, courteous service and skillful representation. You can count on our legal team to fight vigorously to ensure you receive maximized compensation.