A Labor Day family reunion turned deadly last month when a swimming pool unexpectedly filled with live electrical current leaving four severely injured and one dead. The surviving family of 27 year-old Raul Hernandez Martinez has filed a lawsuit against the major hotel chain after investigations revealed that the pool at Houston-area Hilton Westchase had been out of code for years.
According to the charges, the Hernandez family was staying at the hotel for the long weekend and swimming at its pool around dusk when the underwater lights turned on. Soon thereafter, sounds of laughter turned to screams for help as the bodies of family members began convulsing from electric shock. Raul swam into the pool’s deep end to save his 10 year-old brother whose body helplessly floated against one of the defective lights. He managed to save his brother, but by the time family members were able to pull Raul’s body out of the water, he went into cardiac arrest and was transported to an area hospital. Raul was later pronounced dead after spending a week in the ICU. Four other members of the family were placed under intensive care caused by electrocution.
The Hernandez family’s investigation revealed that the Hilton pool had long been out of code and lacked ground fault circuit interrupters designed to sense and shut off leaks in electrical current thereby preventing horrific accidents such as these from ever happening. Ground fault circuit interrupters are inexpensive and now required for new construction under City of Houston building codes. The Hernandez family argues that this life-saving device at least should have been installed into the pool lights when it was recently serviced by a local company, Brown Electric. The lawsuit alleges that Brown Electric, another named defendant, installed new electrical equipment into the pool but failed to pull appropriate permits from the city. Since the accident, the City of Houston has issued a citation to Hilton for using “an electrical system which constitutes a hazard to safety, health and public welfare.”
Premises defects such as the one that killed Raul Hernandez are often invisible to the naked eye and generally reveal themselves in the most unexpected ways.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a premises defect or defective product, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 713-222-7211.