Finally, summer is approaching and you may want to lay around a pool to enjoy the lovely weather. However, whether you own a swimming pool in your backyard, are attending a neighbor’s pool party, lying out a public pool or are relaxing at a resort’s poolside, you and your children are at risk for injuries.
According to Consumer Affairs, roughly 350 children under 5 years old drown to death in swimming pools every year. More than 2,600 children are treated in hospitals every year for near-drowning accidents. However, not every swimming pool accident results in drowning. Many accidents result in head injuries from diving, slip and fall injuries, lacerations, broken bones or paralysis. No matter where you choose to swim, these risks are associated with swimming pool liability.
WHAT DOES SWIMMING POOL LIABILITY MEAN TO ME?
If you own a swimming pool, it is very important for you to understand how you may be held solely responsible for any injuries and deaths that occur. This is called homeowner liability. You are expected to protect both your guests and any trespassers from harm. This includes:
- Keeping pool equipment in good condition
- Providing non-slip surfaces
- Keeping high fencing
- Installing locked gates
- Complying with ordinances
- Remedying any areas that create puddles
- Buying a pool cover
- Removing any toys or reasons for child trespassers to enter your yard
- Posting caution signs
If an injury does occur in the swimming pool at your home, you are strictly liable if these ordinances are not followed. This means there will be no need to prove negligence was a factor that resulted in the injury and you will be held responsible for any damages.
If you sustain an injury at a swimming pool while on vacation or at a public pool, businesses can be held liable for any damages. Businesses are expected to maintain their swimming pools and keep them inaccessible during closing hours. If a life guard is on duty but fails to do his job, the business can be held liable for negligence. Additionally, if a product fails to function and this results in injury, both the business and the product provider can be held liable for you or a loved one’s injuries.
Now what if you or your child are trespassing at a swimming pool? This is where it gets tricky. If you and a few friends broke into a secure pool by possibly bypassing a locked hotel door, climbing a fence, unlocking a gate or anything else of that nature, typically businesses and homeowners with swimming pools do not owe trespassers a duty of care. This means neither are liable for any of your injuries.
However, children are different and as such, this law has a loophole. If your child was lured into trespassing by an object that attracts them, such as a toy or playground equipment, the homeowner or business with a swimming pool is absolutely liable for any injuries your child sustains. Playground equipment, toys and anything else that appeals to children are called attractive nuisances.
Injuries at swimming pools are complicated and usually require an investigation. If you or a loved one have been injured at a swimming pool, a swimming pool accident attorney can tell you what your rights are in the situation.
“And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim, But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands.” Isaiah 25:11