A man, who sustained catastrophic spinal cord injuries after mistakenly diving into three and a half feet of water at a friend´s swimming pool, has been awarded over 4 million dollars in compensation for swimming pool injury by a jury in Cook County, Illinois.
Don Duffy, an Irish immigrant, had never swum in an American pool before, and assumed that he was diving into the “deep” end. Unfortunately the pool at his friend´s home was shallow at both ends and deep in the middle, and Don – who was aged 22 at the time of his accident in July 2001 – suffered a spinal cord injury on impact with the floor of the pool which rendered him an incomplete quadriplegic.
After seeking legal advice, Don made a swimming injury compensation claim against the pool liner maker Latham Plastic and pool installer Black Oak Pool and Supply. During the trial, the defendants alleged that Don had been drinking prior to the accident and should have assumed the risk of injury when diving into a pool without knowing how deep it was.
After considering the legal arguments, the jury ruled in favour of the pool liner company but against Black Oak Pool and Supply. They decided that Don should be 50 per cent accountable for his injuries and therefore reduced a compensation for swimming pool injury settlement of over 8 million dollars to 4,051,200 dollars – the highest ever pool-related compensation settlement in Illinois.