Injuries and Drowning Accidents at Private Swimming Pools (July 25, 2018)
Summer is here, which means hot weather and sitting by the pool. A private swimming pool in your backyard can provide hours of fun and lasting memories, but it can also be extremely dangerous, even if you are diligent about supervision during swim time. The fact is that many drowning accidents happen when no one is using the pool and someone, often a child, slips into the pool location unsupervised. Even if the child is trespassing in your yard, a legal loophole called “attractive nuisance” makes you responsible for any injury or drowning that occurs at your pool. Additionally, the area around the pool is often ripe for slip and fall accidents due to slippery surfaces. For all these reasons, it is important to take precautions and make your pool area as safe as possible, as well as protect yourself with liability insurance.
Though homeowners are usually not responsible for injuries sustained by trespassers, an exception is made for children who are tempted by something attractive on your property, whether it be a swimming pool, a pond, a swingset, or something else. This exception is known as the attractive nuisance law. Due to this law, private pool owners have a responsibility to protect children from entering the pool area by putting in a high gate or fence that stays locked while no one is using the pool, or that has a latch high enough that a child won’t be able to reach it. Make sure you have a pool cover when the pool is not in use, and install a pool alarm that goes off if someone (or something) enters the water of the pool uninvited.
During times when the pool is in use, make sure parents supervise their children and aren’t distracted by their phones or deep in conversation with other adults. Don’t rely on flotation devices to keep children safe as these devices are often unreliable and can even become dangerous by flipping a child onto his or her face. Keep life saving devices nearby in case of an emergency. Additionally, make sure to clean up any accumulating puddles of water on your pool deck and place non-slip surfaces around the pool. If a ladder or any area of the pool needs to be repaired, it’s the pool owner’s duty to warn guests.
Having a pool can be tremendous fun, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Make sure not only to protect guests but to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Most homeowner’s insurance policies are not going to cover enough if someone suffers a serious injury in or around your pool. You may need to purchase an insurance policy specifically for accidents relating to your pool so you can be protected if something should happen.
If you own a private pool, or if you or a loved one suffers an injury or accidental drowning in someone else’s pool, contact the lawyers at Weinstein, Chase, Messinger, and Peters. Whether your case is a slip and fall or wrongful death, we will make sure you get the compensation you need to cover medical bills and any other related costs that arise. If you are a pool owner, we can help you stay protected in case an accident does happen. Whether you are a pool owner or a pool goer, we are here to help.