The unthinkable happened at a Fall River, Massachusetts public swimming pool one day in the summer of 2011, and this story can serve as an example of when you might need a personal injury attorney to file for an injury suit.
Maria Joseph was a 36-year-old mother who was visiting the pool with a few friends when she decided to go down a slide. She collided with her friend’s 9-year-old son and sank beneath the surface.
The boy immediately knew something was wrong, and he took the initiative to notify two separate lifeguards after the accident, but neither lifeguard was concerned. One lifeguard told him they were on a break, and the other said they would do a pool check “in a minute.”
Any paramedic or doctor will tell you that “in a minute” is unacceptable when it comes to saving a life. The human body can go without oxygen for an average of two to three minutes before losing consciousness and then quickly succumbing.
Adding to the gross negligence of the pool staff, Joseph’s body sat at the bottom of the 12-foot-deep swimming pool for two whole days before it was discovered by two trespassers who were out for a late-night swim.
How did this happen? Not only did this pool seem to have careless staff, but the water had been cloudy for several days due to heavy use and a broken filter. When the water is cloudy, then lifeguards often cannot see those beneath the surface.
For safety reasons, lifeguards should always be able to see the drain at the bottom of the pool. If the pool water had been clear, then the lifeguard could have perhaps been able to see Joseph at the bottom without being notified by the young boy.
The biggest takeaways from Joseph’s unnecessary death are the physical changes to the area where she died and the financial settlement her family received. The pool was closed and rebuilt to be less than six feet deep, and Joseph’s children filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city, who were the ones liable for the pool, and received compensation.
In horrible situations like this, a swimming pool accident lawyer is needed to file a claim for compensation so that the negligent party has to pay, literally, for their mistakes. Contact our law firm to set up a free case review.