How to Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents
Not knowing how to swim can contribute to devastating swimming pool accidents. There are plenty of adults and children who do not know how to swim. Taking formal swimming lessons might seem overwhelming if you're over a particular age but it can be helpful for protecting your safety and reducing your risk of drowning. Another way to prevent swimming pool accidents, injuries and associated medical conditions is to get CPR certified. This will enable you to take quick action if and when a swimming pool accident does occur.
Lack of supervision is another thing that can contribute to what counts as a swimming pool accident. Did you know that it's true that it takes less than 5 minutes of being submerged in water to drown? Taking an errand away from your child in the pool or bathtub could lead to an emergency situation in which you don't have enough time to respond properly.
Inappropriate security, horsing around and intoxication are other causes of pool accidents. When it comes to improper security, swimming pools should be outfitted with appropriate fencing or some other type of latched door or gate to prevent someone from falling in and drowning. Swimming pool accidents often relate to premises liability law and might lead victims to file a personal injury accident against the responsible homeowner.
Pool owners can potentially face liability when a visitor or swimmer in their pool is injured but it is important to realize that a swimming pool owner is not automatically liable for an injury that occurs in and around their pool.
Imagine that a hotel owner is aware of a malfunction in the pool cleaning or vacuum system and knows that it can cause serious injuries for patrons. It’s in the owner’s best interest to close the pool and reiterate this closure with warning signs. This is how the owner maintains their responsibility to prevent unnecessary accidents. But a hotel owner who ignores this or hopes for the best is putting their guests at risk of drowning or other serious injuries, which could be followed by a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding Premises Liability Rules
Since a pool is technically a part of the property that it's located on, general premises liability rules in the state in which the pool is located will impact your case in a pool injury lawsuit. This is used to explain the set of laws that determine if anyone is liable when a certain condition or use of that land causes an injury. Premises liability law typically categorizes three different types of entrants on a piece of land, which are licensees, trespassers and invitees.
Each of these are owed different degrees of care from the owner of the property. The degree of care can shift depending on the entrant but the pool owner's duty is defined as “the duty to make the pool reasonably safe for anticipated uses.” For public pools, whether free of charge or for a fee, entrance to these pool areas are usually defined as invitees which means the pool owner has a legal responsibility to do a reasonable job of repairing and maintaining the pool to minimize the possibility of injuries.
When it comes to visiting a pool on a private property, these entrants are usually classified as licensees, which means pool owners have an obligation to warn licensees about dangers that are not immediately obvious to a reasonable person. Bear in mind that pool owners do not owe duty of care to a trespasser besides refraining from causing that trespasser purposeful harm. One exception to this rule, however, is when the trespasser is a child.
Pool owners have an obligation to keep pools safe from young children who do not understand the nature of drowning under a doctrine known as the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. This includes a duty to prevent pool access when children could otherwise access the pool. Not every state follows this specific rule of attractive nuisance so it is important to research your state laws if you are opening a pool on your property and have neighbors nearby with young children who might become attracted to the pool.
Understanding Grounds for Liability
Regardless of whether or not a patron to a pool is a licensee or an invitee, certain risks, such as the danger associated with diving from an inappropriate location or slippery surfaces are relatively obvious and will usually not create liability for that pool owner. However, there are many other non-obvious dangers that a pool owner should be prepared to minimize the risks associated with or at least warn people who are around. This includes hidden obstructions or if the pool is too shallow for diving and this is not immediately obvious. The owner of a pool that is accessible to invitees, such as hotel guests or club guests also has an additional level of liability if they fail to provide appropriate safety equipment. This could include life preservers as one example. Any equipment that could fall into disrepair and could lead to serious injuries, such as improperly maintained diving boards, ladders or drains could lead to a premises liability lawsuit.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Pool Case?
If you believe you have been seriously hurt in a pool accident and the owner or manager of that property did not do their due diligence in warning you about these prospective risks, scheduling a consultation with an experienced lawyer will help you. In determining what counts as a pool accident, your attorney will sit down with you and discuss the facts of the case with you to identify whether or not the premises owner owed you a specific duty of care and which factors in the case contributed to them not meeting this duty of care.
Pool cases are unique from other kinds of personal injury accidents and a lawyer should be engaged early on to figure out if your case is what counts as a pool accident. Your lawyer might need to gather evidence from the scene of the incident, too, which is not always easy if the pool owner has made an effort to remove the obstacle or fix the original problem. This means prompt action on your part, preferably with your own evidence or proof that you previously collected.
A pool injuries lawyer will be well versed in local and state laws around property and the most common statutes and prior case outcomes that are relevant for your situation. When you know that your case is in the hands of someone who appreciates the difficulties of a pool accident and is sensitive to how your family has been forever changed as a result of it, this can make a big difference. For example, children who have suffered in a preventable pool accident might develop a fear of water that follows them for many years to come. As a parent, it’s devastating to think about how a drowning or near drowning would affect your family.
The sooner that you can consult with an experienced attorney the easier it will be for you to identify your risks and responsibilities. Schedule a consultation with an attorney who could help guide you through what counts as a pool accident today.