Can Homeowners be Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents?
Having a swimming pool at one’s home is a huge responsibility. For example, homeowners must maintain pH levels so the chemicals in the water do not irritate swimmer’s eyes or damage the finish on the sides and bottom of the pool.
Homeowners also need to make sure the area around the pool is safe, particularly for children who may be using the pool. Negligent homeowners could face legal liability for accidents and the injuries that may result, including drownings and slip and fall accidents.
Liability for a pool accident can be complex, as there are detailed state laws and legal standards that must be considered. Victims should strongly consider meeting with a lawyer who is well-versed in these issues.
If you, your child or another loved one was injured in a pool accident at someone’s home, a Phoenix pool drowning lawyer from Phillips Law Group may be able to help you. Call to schedule a free consultation with one of our licensed attorneys so he or she can determine if you may have a case against the pool owner.
Guarding Against Child Trespassers
One of the main things homeowners with swimming pools need to guard against is child trespassers. If homeowners do not take adequate steps to prevent child trespassers from entering the property and using the pool, homeowners could face legal liability for the child’s injuries.
Why do Pool Owners Have a Responsibility to Trespassers?
Swimming pools are considered attractive nuisances as far as children are concerned. An attractive nuisance is a feature of a property that is attractive to children, such as a swimming pool, water slide, playground equipment or even an open shed.
Children do not have the cognitive ability to appreciate and understand the dangers posed by a swimming pool or other attractive nuisances. That means homeowners need to take reasonable steps to prevent children from using the attractive nuisance.
For example, keeping the fence around the pool locked could be considered a reasonable step to prevent children from making use of the pool.
Under state law, pool owners are required to have a five-foot wall, fence or other barrier around the pool. The statute also says:
- There can be no openings in the barrier through which a spherical object four inches in diameter can pass.
- The horizontal parts of the barrier must be spaced a minimum of 45 inches apart and must be on the inner part of the barrier.
- The gate must be self-closing and self-latching. The latch must be 54 inches above the ground or on the pool side of the gate.
- The release mechanism for the gate needs to be a minimum of five inches below the top of the gate.
- There cannot be an opening more than a half an inch within 24 inches of the release mechanism.
- The barrier must not have any openings, handholds or footholds that are accessible from the exterior side of the enclosure.
It is important to note the doctrine of attractive nuisances is vague. That means proving liability for an injury involving an attractive nuisance may be very difficult without help from an experienced attorney.
Injuries to Children Who are Invited onto the Property
Children and others who are invited to use a homeowner’s pool are considered licensees under the law. Homeowners have a duty to warn licensees of dangerous conditions that are unlikely to be discovered.
For example, homeowners should repair drain grates/covers that are not secured or warn pool users of the risk. However, even if homeowners warn children about the risk, if children are not supervised and an injury occurs, homeowners may face liability.
Slip and Fall Risks
Cracks or holes in the concrete around the pool may present a slip and fall risk when children are running around playing. These should be repaired or roped off to prevent children and others from walking over them and potentially falling.
Homeowners may think simply taking steps like this will protect them from liability. However, if children are not being supervised, they may bear partial fault for an injury.
There is a widely held assumption children do not understand the risks of their actions, and this makes them more likely to find a way to get injured. If a child suffers an injury while he or she was unsupervised, judges and juries are likely to pin some amount of fault on the homeowner.
It is a bad idea to assume other adults are watching children, because they often are not. Numerous accidents occur when there are multiple adults present who all assumed children were being watched.
Before children use the pool, homeowners should learn if they have had swimming lessons. If a child is an inexperienced swimmer, make sure he or she is always being supervised. This is particularly important for young children and toddlers, who may wander right into the water.
Unsure if an Attorney Can Assist You? Call to Learn More
One of the most common questions we are asked by potential clients is: Do I have a case?
This is a question you can discuss with an experienced attorney from Phillips Law Group in a free consultation. There are no upfront fees or obligations associated with this meeting. This is simply a chance to discuss what happened and learn how a lawyer from our firm may be able to assist you.
We have helped numerous injury victims secure compensation. Over nearly 30 years serving Arizona injury victims we have obtained more than $750 million in compensation.
Give us a call today for assistance. Phone: 1-800-706-3000 .
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