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Water Features Pose Significant Risk to Children

Las Vegas is home to some of the most iconic urban water features in the country. Especially at night, when the water is lit up, big fountains can be an impressive show. Of course, the big fountains aren’t the only water features one can find in and around Las Vegas. More modest fountains and other water features, like a koi pond, are everywhere. Small children, who are attracted to water, can suffer serious injuries, including death, if they fall into a water feature and aren’t rescued in time.

Premises liability for water features

Homeowners and businesses alike owe certain obligations to guests to maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition. For a business that maintains a water feature that is accessible to the public, reasonable steps to keep the water feature safe might include:
  • Active, 24-hour video monitoring.
  • Maintaining fences and other barriers to prevent access.
  • Having personnel on site with training to respond to a drowning emergency.
Note that liability for a water feature can extend even to places that are not accessible to the public. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner can be held liable for injuries suffered by a child who trespasses onto a property in order to gain access to a water feature, like a pool or private fountain. Property owners are required to take active steps to ensure that a child who trespasses onto their property to use an “attractive” feature is protected from injury, such as by ensuring that a barrier is in place or by covering the water feature when not in use.

What role does a parent’s supervision play?

Parents of small children should always keep a close eye on their kids when they are around water. This is true for all children, but especially those who don’t know how to swim or keep themselves safe in the water. Always bear in mind that water features that aren’t intended for human use probably have slippery bottoms, making rescues more difficult. Parents who allow their children to wander off to a water feature without adequate oversight may face a defense of contributory negligence in any ensuing personal injury case. The defense may argue that the parents disregarded the potential danger to their child and therefore should be at least partially responsible for the child’s resulting injuries. Additional facts, like warning signs or evidence that the parent was aware of the risk but ignored it, could work in the defense’s favor.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury a litigation. Our practice focuses on providing caring service to each and every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Water Parks and Personal Injury in Nevada

Water parks pose a range of potential risks for visitors. Wet surfaces are often slippery and can cause slip-and-fall accidents. Fast-moving water slides can cause users to collide with objects or each other. And water always poses a risk of drowning. The water park may bear legal responsibility for some injuries suffered by guests.

Water parks owe a high duty of care to guests

Every business owes its visitors a special legal duty to keep its premises reasonably safe for use. That means that a water park has a special obligation to ensure that its facilities are safely maintained. A water park’s failure to address a safety problem may give rise to a premises liability claim. Examples might include broken equipment, unaddressed slip risks, inadequate sanitation, or repairs that do not adequately restore a feature to a safe condition. A facility’s violation of laws or regulations can improve the likelihood of a lawsuit’s success. Water facilities are subject to specific rules and regulations that govern their design and maintenance. For example, in Las Vegas the Southern Nevada Pool Code imposes requirements for any publicly accessible pool such as safely designed drainage, water quality standards, and proper surface care. Water parks are also required to have lifeguards regularly stationed where they can assist patrons in the event of an emergency. Lifeguards are required to hold certifications that qualify them to perform first aid and other life-saving procedures, as well as being able to rescue someone who has suffered an injury in the water.

Suing for wrongful death in drowning cases

Drowning is the worst-case scenario for a water park visitor. If someone should die from drowning at a water park and the park bears responsibility for the death, the person’s next-of-kin may have the option of suing for wrongful death. In a wrongful death suit the plaintiff can recover compensation for grief as well as other damages. The highly publicized case of the boy beheaded by a waterslide in Kansas City offers an example of probably the most extreme case of negligence by a water park. According to the prosecutor pursuing criminal action against the slide’s owners, the slide’s design made it inherently unsafe. One hopes that the Kansas City accident gives operators of water rides reason to pause before building extremely unsafe amusements, but given the competitive landscape one can expect businesses to continue to push the safety envelope.

Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury attorney about your case

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you or a loved one has been injured at a water park and you would like to find out what your legal options are, call us today for a free attorney consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.