A HIDDEN DANGER: ELECTROCUTION FROM SWIMMING POOLS

Water and electricity don’t mix. In October of 2004, on the eve of the playoffs between the New York Yankees and Red Sox, two relatives of Mariano Rivera, pitcher for the Yankees, were electrocuted in Rivera’s mansion in Panama after the pool had been wired to prevent dogs from entering the pool.

In the United States, between 1990 and 2003 there were 60 deaths that were attributed to pool electrocution. Since 2003, there have been cases of electrocutions in pools reported in the news throughout the United States. In 2014, a 7-year-old boy in Miami, Florida died following being electrocuted in his family swimming pool as a result of an improperly grounded light. In 2016, a 17-year-old girl in North Carolina was electrocuted and drowned as a result of a faulty ground wire in a swimming pool system. In May of 2016 a 34-year-old man was shocked in a motel swimming pool in New Jersey. One day later, an 8-year-old girl was electrocuted in her backyard swimming pool in Pennsylvania.

According to New York Public Health Law §225, lighting or other electrical circuits provided in the pool area must be protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters in accordance with the Uniform Fire and Prevention Building Code and National Electric Code. The Public Health Law further provides that any defects in the electrical system including underwater and overhead lights must be repaired immediately. Chapter 41 of the Residential Code of New York State enumerates the requirements for electrical wiring for swimming pools, wading pools and hot tubs.

The symptoms of electric shock include:

  • Burns
  • Cardiac and/or respiratory arrest
  • Neurological problems
  • Ruptured eardrums
  • Fractures
  • Chronic pain

Although rare, electrocution from swimming pools, both public and private property, can lead to death or life long disabilities. Violations of the National Electric Code and New York statutory authority can impose liability on manufacturers and installation companies for failure to install proper electrical wiring. Liability may also be imposed on landowners for failure to repair any defects in the electrical system. If you have sustained injuries from the presence of electricity in a pool or have questions on how to pursue a claim for injuries sustained from electrocution in a pool, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP.