Are Public Pools Responsible for Swimmer Safety?

Photo of memorial candles

Pool safety is usually only a concern in the summer season, when people commonly take to the water to beat the summer heat. However, in Princeton, New Jersey this issue has lingered into the fall as a lawsuit filed by the family of a drowning victim draws to a close. Are there any lessons to be learned from this swimmer safety tragedy?

How Is Swimmer Safety a Public Pool’s Responsibility?

A 24-year-old student from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and his father were swimming in the Community Park Pool in Princeton when tragedy struck. The young man lost consciousness while in four feet of water. Around six minutes later, fellow swimmers realized the man was unconscious and pulled him from the water. First responders transported him to the hospital, but he passed on the way.

Two lifeguards were on duty when this tragedy occurred. Both were stationed on one side of the pool, and they failed to notice the college student who fell unconscious. The student’s father, who witnessed the whole ordeal, joined with the rest of his family to file a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the city was negligent when it came to safety at the pool.

How Could the City Be Negligent on Pool Safety?

The family asserted that the two lifeguards on duty should have been posted at positions with crossing sight lines (as state regulations dictate) and that this contributed to their son’s death. The city argued that the 24-year-old had a cardiac event and that there was little its lifeguards could have done. Despite this argument city officials offered a settlement on October 30th that was accepted by the family of the college student. Princeton will pay $1.75 million to the family who lost their son at the pool that day.

Even though this case didn’t reach a verdict, this settlement speaks volumes to the responsibility municipalities have to their residents. This is why it can be important to contact an attorney after any incident involving a municipality. Knowing your rights is important, and it could be the only way to ensure that your losses are given fair consideration.

A message brought to you by the civil trial attorneys at Keefe Law Firm.