Swimming Pool Drowning Liability and Municipal Pools

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Apr 07, 2010 in Local

With the hot summer months just around the corner, many people of all ages will begin to flock to swimming pools in an attempt to beat the heat that dominates the weather in Arizona during this time of year. While municipal pools present an attractive option for many children, they also present dangers that can lead to tragedy if those who are responsible for the safe keeping of swimmers are not meeting the standards set out by Arizona law. While every summer seems to increase the need for Arizona premises liability lawyers, below you'll find a basic overview of the concept of liability in relation to municipal pool drownings.

Federal Pool Drowning Prevention Law - The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

In 2007, the President of the United States signed into law a bill that basically set out strict requirements for all pools public and private in nature. This law requires those who own and/or manage pools to install components and equipment designed to prevent swimmers from being sucked into drainage and pump systems. This had become a growing problem in previous years, with countless people seriously injured or killed by drowning when they were trapped in these antiquated pump and drain systems. Any pool that does not have compliant equipment protecting swimmers from this equipment would be considered in violation of federal law.

Other Concepts of Liability for Municipal Pool Drownings

The United States government has stated that approximately 20 percent of public pool drownings occur with a lifeguard present. While it's certainly difficult to guard against accidents when pools are crowded, that fact does not alleviate the responsibility of municipalities to do everything possible to keep public pools safe. Examples of scenarios that could lead to legal liability include:

  1. Overcrowding - Municipal pool managers understand how many people can be safely supervised. When these pools reach capacity, they could be found liable if a drowning happens because the pool allowed additional people onto the property.
  2. Lack of supervision - While lifeguards save lives, merely having one or more present does not in itself prevent liability from attaching to the municipality if someone drowns because the lifeguards did not properly oversee the pool.
  3. Failure to protect swimmers - If a municipal pool encounters a problem with a swimmer who is creating danger for others, those responsible for the safety of the pool need to remove the person or people causing danger. Allowing them to continue could lead to liability if someone drowns as a result of this conduct continuing.
  4. Failure to maintain equipment - Aside from the pump law mentioned above, municipalities are also required to keep their environments safe by removing dangerous sharp edges from the pool, to make sure that the floor of the pool is not dangerously slippery and to make sure that ladders and diving boards are properly installed.

Overall, there are additional reasons as to why a municipality could be found liable for a drowning, but the examples above represent common scenarios. However, bringing a legal action against a public entity can be complicated, so if this has happened to someone you love you need the help of the Arizona premises liability lawyers at Phillips Law Group. Contact the firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

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