My daughter was visiting a friend and was swimming at their neighborhood pool. The HOA contracted a management group, which in turn contracted a maintenance company to maintain the pool. The cover to the vacuum system was left off and the vacuum was left on. My daughter got pulled into the vacuum pipe. Her hand swelled up inside the pipe and it took firefighters over 3 hours to break the concrete and get her out. I was terrified she was going to lose her hand as she had lost her pulse in her thumb by the time they got her out. She was admitted to the hospital for 3 days to determine if she needed to have surgery. It doesn't look like she will have permanent injury. I'm looking to interview some lawyers, but I wanted to get an idea what sort of case there is for this negligence?
Generally, under Georgia law property owners have a "non-delegable" duty to maintain a reasonably safe premises. As a result, the neighborhood would likely be the appropriate party to at least start with in investigating the claim. The sub-contractors may accept some liability in the case as well for a variety of reasons. For instance, the contract between the sub and the HOA may state the sub will indemnify the HOA for liability claims involving its services, or it may simply want to save the relationship between the two so as to maintain the account with the HOA. Either way, the whole ordeal sounds terrifying for you and your daughter. Fortunately, it appears your daughter's injury is going to heal and not continue to be an issue for her. However the claim certainly sounds actionable and I would be happy to discuss the ways in which I can assist you in pursuing the matter. There's no doubt the HOA and sub have insurance companies whose adjusters are trained to try and resolve these matters as minimally as possible. Moreover, it is important to consider hiring an attorney quickly to ensure the appropriate investigation can take place. Please don't hesitate to call me at (770) 427-5498 if you have other questions or would like to discuss the case further.
A few things to consider when hiring an attorney. First, you need to work with an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases and has experience handling premises liability cases, as opposed to a general practitioner or someone who does a little of this and a little of that. Also, while the fee arrangement is important, don't sacrifice quality for otherwise minimal differences in fee percentages. I've taken calls from too many nice people whose cases were mangled by incompetent attorneys they hired simply because they charged a slightly lower fee.
Lastly, please do not wait to hire an attorney for help with your case. While the statute of limitations for claims of minors may be tolled until they turn 18, there has been at least some indication from the Court of Appeals that the parents' claims for medical expenses of the child are not and are still subject to the two year statute of limitations. While this is not necessarily entirely settled law, there's no reason to wait to contact an attorney and ensure this is not an issue in your case.
First of all, I'm glad to hear there was no permanent injury. No amount of money can heal that.
Having said that, it sounds like you most likely have a claim against the HOA and the people it hired for negligence. There is likely a monentary value a court would place on the pain and suffering and three days of hospitalization.
I'd be glad to offer you a free consultation to get details. In a case like this there would be no legal fee unless you recovered. My phone is 404-768-3509 or you can email me at email@example.com for a quicker response.
I'll add my 2 cents here as well. There is a negligence case here, and it may be against multiple parties (possibly even against the vacuum manufacturer). The neighborhood HOA is the right place to start. They will certainly bring any other parties they feel necessary into the suit. I also agree with others that you do not want to wait to engage a lawyer - while you have time to pursue your claim, and I would advise knowing exactly what your injury is before you actually file a demand/file suit - a skilled attorney can do a lot of background investigation and get appropriate maintenance records, etc. in the background while the final medical determination is taking place. That way, when you're ready to prosecute the claim - you have everything ready to go.
All of us offer free consultations, so call a few of us - get a sense of our backgrounds, skills, and plan for your case. Then hire somebody and get the ball rolling. Good luck, and glad to hear your daughter looks to be ok!
Sounds as though there is a clear case of negigence here, the question is whether or not your daughter's damages make it worthwile to pursue. Her mental suffering and physical pain claims have some value but the question of permanent impairment, and the degree of the impairment make a huge difference in the value of the case. I would wait several months and have the impairment rated again before you start thinking about the value of the case.
what a terrible experience, but i am glad to hear it doesn't appear that your daughter will have any permanent physical injuries. Sounds like there could be multiple parties liable, from the HOA , the management group or a product liability case. do not let your daughter speak to any insurance adjuster or claim rep; let the attorney you hire take care of everything and focus on her health.
This is a very complicated but very serious case. Personal injury claims are comprised of two main areas, liability and damages. Your daughter definitely has significant damages as part of this event. The ER time, the hospital and X-rays, etc., will likely add up to several thousand dollars in medical bills. She also can recover damages for pain and suffering, which includes both physical and emotional suffering from this incident which sounds terrifying. The issue of liability is more complex. But if this pool was supposed to have a cover on the vacuum to prevent this type of thing from happening, someone is probably liable. You need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to find out who and hold them accountable. Good luck.
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