Swimming Pool Accidents
Each year in the U.S., thousands of people are injured or killed in swimming pool accidents.
A particularly alarming fact is that among children under 14 years of age, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death (motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause).
Swimming pool near-drownings also result in thousands of cases of permanent disability among children and adults every year.
Premises liability law covers most swimming pool accidents. Whether the pool is part of an individual homeowner's property or at a setting such as a school, park, neighborhood pool area, hotel, or resort, the property owner has a legal duty to maintain safety and health standards at the pool.
When these standards are not met, the pool owner and/or manager may be held liable for an injury or fatality that occurred in or around the pool.
"Premises liability" concerns the determination of who is at fault for an injury on the premises. In a given swimming pool accident, the liability may be entirely the property owner's, or it may rest solely with the individual who was injured, or both the property owner and the injured individual may be at fault.
Determining Liability – Who's at Fault?
A determination of liability for a swimming pool accident depends in part on whether the injured person was a guest at the pool, or was there for a business reason, or was trespassing. The legal designations are as follows:
• Invitee: Someone who the property owner allowed onto the premises for social reasons, such as a guest invited to a pool party at a private residence, or the guests of a hotel using the pool there
• Licensee: A person who was allowed on the property for reasons of business; for example, a swimming pool serviceman or a utility company technician
• Trespasser: A person who was not given permission to enter the property where the swimming pool is located. For instance, if the injured person jumped over two high fences and broke a gate's lock to get into the pool and was then injured, he or she will be found to have some or all of the liability for the accident
Many local and state laws and regulations are in place to protect swimmers' health and safety in private and public pools. Sometimes these safety measures are neglected. A swimming pool accident may be due to such factors as:
- Inadequate fences or barriers around a pool
- Poor supervision of children
- Inadequate presence of lifeguards
- Poorly enclosed pool drains
- Too many people or children in the pool
- Slippery swimming pool deck or broken tiles
- Poorly trained lifeguards
- Excessive alcohol on the premises
- Diving board malfunctions
- Cloudy pool water that obscures the lifeguards' view
Many different circumstances may cause a swimming pool accident, and the injuries that can occur in or around a swimming pool are often overwhelming.
If a swimming pool accident has caused an injury or fatality in your family, it's in your best interest to have an experienced premises liability attorney on your side.
To discuss the circumstances surrounding a swimming pool accident and learn about your legal options, contact a knowledgeable premises liability attorney today.
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