Virginia Graeme Baker was a seven year-old girl who learned how to swim when she was only three years old, was a member of her town’s swim and dive team, and reportedly loved being in the water. These factors made it even more of a shock when she tragically drowned in a hot tub in 2002. According to reports, Baker suddenly became stuck to the bottom of the hot tub due to suction from the drain. She could not escape herself and her mother was also unable to free her. Finally, two men worked together to pull the girl out of the water, though the suction force was so great that the drain cover broke in the process.
Following this tragic drowning accident, Baker’s mother became an aggressive advocate for safe drains in pools and spas. Together with advocate group Safe Kids Worldwide, her mother successfully got the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act signed into law in 2007. The statute sets out strict regulations for pool and spa owners regarding maintenance of drains and installations of safe drain covers to avoid entrapment accidents. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) also launched a new division that aimed to provide guidelines for pool owners to keep their drains safe.
Unfortunately, not every pool and spa owner follows the regulations set out by the Pool & Spa Safety Act. When owners fail to meet the drain safety standards required by law and injury occurs as a result, a court should find them “negligent per se.” Negligent per se means that a court will find a party automatically negligent because they violated a public safety law, and the injured party does not have to do anything further to prove the defendant was negligent. Negligence per se often makes it easier for injured victims to recover via a legal claim.
At the Dolman Law Group, we are committed to helping injured victims recover from negligent parties. If you or your child has been injured because of a negligent pool owner who did not follow safety guidelines, we will work to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Please feel free to use our online contact form or to call our office at (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation today.