An Overview of Swimming Pool Negligence Claims
Swimming pools offer family and friends hours of summer fun. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as jumping into a cold pool on a hot summer day. Children and adults alike enjoy swimming, but even shallow pools can be the site of tragic personal injury accidents or deaths. A child without proper swimming knowledge or an intoxicated adult can drown. Even where such individuals are promptly rescued and/or resuscitated, permanent brain damage or injuries can result.
Some swimming pool accidents are truly that – accidents that no one could have foreseen or prevented. However, if the pool owner fails to take reasonable precautions to address the dangers that owning a pool creates, he or she may be held responsible for the economic losses and injuries that are attributable or connected to the pool.
The Hidden Dangers of Swimming Pools
Beneath the calm waters of a typical pool lurk hidden dangers that can cause serious or even fatal injuries. These can include:
- Drowning is obviously the greatest danger that a pool presents. Even great swimmers can drown if they become caught on an underwater protrusion or hazard or are held underwater by the suction power of a drain. Being deprived of oxygen in a near-drowning incident can cause permanent damage to the brain as well.
- Cuts or broken bones caused by an individual running and slipping in the area around the pool, attempting to jump or dive into the pool and making an error in judgment, or cutting one’s foot on a sharp object in the pool.
- Chemical burns if the pool owner uses an unsafe level of chemicals like chlorine to treat the pool. On the other hand, using too few of chemicals – or not treating the pool at all – can result in the growth of dangerous bacteria that can cause serious illnesses or conditions.
Pool owners should be aware of these potential dangers and take appropriate measures to minimize these risks. This can include treating the pool on a regular schedule according to the directions contained on the pool chemical label, ensuring diving boards and ladders are in good repair and able to hold the amount of weight they claim they can support, keeping the pool clean so that objects can be easily spotted, and covering all drains with an appropriate cover.
Swimming Pool Owner Responsibilities
If your neighbor, friend, or family member owns a pool, the law imposes certain legal responsibilities upon that person. As a property owner who may invite friends, family, or others onto his or her property, your neighbor, friend, and/or family member must take reasonable steps to ensure his or her pool is in a state of good repair before allowing others to use the pool. This means (for example) that the pool must be clean and properly treated, drains must have suitable covers, and ladders and diving boards must be free from defects that would cause them to collapse or otherwise injure a swimmer. For adult guests, a pool owner need only discover dangerous conditions that may exist with his or her pool and either warn his or her guests of these conditions and/or promptly repair them.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Swimming pool owners have additional responsibilities and obligations to prevent children from becoming injured or killed because of their swimming pools. The “attractive nuisance” doctrine holds that a swimming pool owner (or the owner of any other similar object that might entice children to trespass onto the owner’s property in order to play with the object) must take reasonable steps to prevent children from trespassing or otherwise using the pool without the knowledge of the pool owner and/or without adult supervision. A pool owner may need (for example) to construct a fence or wall around the pool and keep such fence or wall in a state of good repair. The owner may also need to lock any gate leading to the pool so that children are not able to easily reach the pool. What steps the pool owner must take will depend on whether children live in the neighborhood, the location of the pool, and the financial resources of the pool owner (amongst other considerations). A pool owner is not required to take unreasonable or excessively costly measures to prevent child trespassers.
Swimming Pool Injury Attorney Helps Injury Victims and Grieving Families
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a pool accident, the pool owner may be responsible for helping pay for your injuries and/or expenses. You only have a limited time within which to seek compensation for swimming pool injuries, so contact Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 as soon as possible. Our firm will help ensure that your legal rights are promptly and effectively asserted so that you can focus on the health and stability of yourself and your family.