If a swimming pool injury or illness has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Swimming pool injuries can occur from slips on wet surfaces, diving accidents, or waterborne illnesses due to poorly maintained pool water.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a swimming pool accident, we can help. Whether your injuries were caused by a slip or trip, fall or other incident, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim for an accident in a public place with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
How common are swimming pool injuries?
Injuries and illnesses often occur when swimming pool operators fail to:
- provide adequate lifeguard support,
- ensure the water is safe to use and free from parasites,
- ensure that the area around the pool is free from hazards.
Figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) indicate that children, in particular, are at risk of injury when using a swimming pool.
If your swimming pool accident was caused by an owner or operator's negligence, it should possible to make a personal injury compensation claim, even if your accident occurred abroad.
Do I qualify for swimming pool injury compensation?
You will usually be eligible to claim compensation if you have been injured in the following circumstances:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- another person or organisation was to blame, and;
- they owed you duty of care.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Claiming when you're partially at fault
Personal injury claims often involve circumstances where there is some degree of blame on each side.
We found that, in our 2023 Public Liability Injury Claimant Survey, 17.45% of respondents were unsure as to which party was legally liable for their injuries.
Even if your actions or negligence played a role in the accident, you could still be eligible for compensation. Cases with shared fault (contributory negligence) frequently settle through a split liability agreement.
How long do I have to start a swimming pool injury or illness claim?
For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.
The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.
How much compensation can I claim for swimming pool illness or injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Swimming pool injury or illness
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Updated December 2023
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, including potential lost commission, bonuses or promotions, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as physical therapy and pain medication.
Psychological trauma following an injury or illness
If you have suffered psychological harm in addition to a physical injury or illness, you are not alone.
Our 2023 Public Place Injury Claimant Survey highlights that 29.03% of claimants reported they had suffered a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
Injuries or illnesses from swimming pools can lead to a phobia of water (aquaphobia), a phobia of the severe symptoms associated with gastric illness, or even PTSD. This can become a life-altering challenge for a regular or competitive swimmer, or someone who relies on aquatic therapy.
Your solicitor will help ensure that any psychological harm you have suffered as the result of another party's negligence is recognised and included in the calculation of your compensation award or settlement. In addition, you can also claim for mental health treatment costs that may not be readily available on the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Common causes of swimming pool accidents
Common causes of swimming pool accidents and illness include:
- Damaged tiles
- Defective pool drainage
- Defective water filtration systems
- Excessive use of chlorine, or chemical disinfectant
- Failure to clearly signpost pool depths
Typical swimming pool injuries
- Slips, trips and falls - Slippery pool sides and steps are a frequent cause of this type of injury.
- Lacerations - Damaged tiles are the most frequent cause of this type of swimming pool injury. Pool water contaminants can further exacerbate this kind of injury.
- Diving injuries - Head and spinal injuries can result from diving into pools that are too shallow.
- Contaminated pool water - Swimming pool water usually contains chlorine, or chemical disinfectant, to kill harmful bacteria. However, bacteria and other contaminants can still reach hazardous levels. This is due to their continuous introduction to the water by pool users.
- Chlorine poisoning and chemical burns - Excessive amounts of chlorine or chemical disinfectant in pool water can be poisonous. Chemical burns and serious skin and eye irritations can also occur when too much disinfectant is added to pool water.
- Drain suction injuries - Excessive levels of suction from swimming pool drains can cause serious injury and drowning. If drain covers are left off, swimmers can be pulled down into drains, becoming stuck fast. Suction entrapment can also be the cause of internal and rectal injury.
- Unusually shaped pools - There is some evidence to suggest that unusually shaped swimming pools present a higher risk of injury. This may be due to difficulties in gauging changes in water depth. If these depth changes are not suitably marked, and a swimmer is injured, a claim may usually be made.
Who is legally responsible (liable) for my injury?
When making a compensation claim, your solicitor will need to establish that you were owed a duty of care by another party.
A duty of care is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.
UK laws impose a duty of care on employers, local authorities, medical professionals, landlords and the owners and occupiers of other premises, to protect workers, visitors and the public from harm.
Who is liable for your injury will depend on where your accident happened:
Community swimming baths and leisure centres
If you were injured in public or community pool, the local authority or council may be liable.
The council all have public liability insurance to pay cover compensation if you are injured.
Private swimming pools and leisure centres
If you were injured in a pool that is privately owned and operated, the owner or operator of the pool may be liable.
The pool operator should have public liability insurance to pay cover compensation if you are injured.
Swimming pool accidents on holiday
Holidaymakers can sustain injuries, or contract illnesses, resulting from defective swimming pool facilities in hotels and water parks.
Under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, package holiday tour operators have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their customers.
The regulations state that tour operators have a responsibility to make regular health and safety checks on holiday accommodation, including swimming pool facilities. These facilities must be safe, adequately maintained and have fully functional life-saving equipment on site.
If you were injured or made ill by poor swimming pool facilities, you may be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator.
Water park injury claims
Water parks are often unconnected to the package holiday tour operator. If you were injured was sustained due to the negligence of the water park operator, a compensation claim may be made against the water park owners.
For UK water parks, the compensation claims process is no different to that of most 'occupiers liability claims'. However, claiming for accidents and illness that occurs in water parks abroad can be much more complex and time limits may differ.
Swimming pool accidents at a private residence
You may have been injured in a pool belonging to a friend or neighbour. Claims made in such circumstances can be particularly awkward, particularly if the pool belongs to a friend or family member.
However, compensation may be necessary if an injury leaves you unable to work and in need of treatment. Typically claims are made against the pool owner's home insurance.
How did your injury happen?
Swimming pool injury or illness claims are usually referred to as public place, or occupiers' liability, claims. Click on the icons below to learn more:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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if you can claim
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:
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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.