According to the National Safety Council, 80 percent of drownings occur in residential pools and spas. In addition, the American Institute for Preventive Medicine lists drowning as the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. They say accidental drowning claims approximately 4,000 lives in the United States each year.
This means that for homeowners, when you own a swimming pool you run the risk of a lawsuit if someone gets hurt. However, there are things that you can do in order to protect yourself and your guests. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney such as the lawyer locals trust.
Types of Injuries
Drowning deaths aren’t the only concern for a swimming pool owner. There are other risks of injury and harm that come along with owning a swimming pool.
- Someone might slip in a water puddle and fall.
- A person might suffer an injury on a broken diving board or a slide.
- Chemical treatments for the pool water can also cause injuries.
Duties to Guests
Although the rules vary from state to state, generally, a homeowner has a basic duty to keep people on their property safe.
- While they don’t have to take steps to actively discover dangers in their home, they have to warn people on their property about known dangers.
- A property owner has a reasonable amount of time to discover dangers on their property and either fix it or warn guests of the hazards.
- When a homeowner fails to keep their property reasonably safe and someone gets hurt as a result, they can be held responsible under the laws of premises liability.
Duties to Trespassers
Many swimming pool owners are surprised to learn that there are occasions when a trespasser can bring a lawsuit against the property owner after they or their minor children are injured while trespassing. This falls under the doctrine of nuisance attractants and liability law. In the scenario of a swimming pool, the risk is usually children or young adults who might sneak onto the property to swim in the pool. While it might not seem fair that a trespasser can bring a case against a swimming pool owner, all homeowners must take care not to leave obvious dangers on their property.
- Keep a fence around the pool with a locked gate and use a pool cover when it’s not in use.
- Lighting around the pool can prevent a trespasser from falling and getting hurt.
Additional Preventative Measures
If you’re a pool owner, there are things that you can do to minimize your liability risk. The first step is to monitor who uses your pool.
- Don’t allow children to use your pool unattended.
- Make sure that you limit pool use to no more than the maximum occupancy at any one time.
- Don’t allow anyone to use your pool when intoxicated.
- Adult members of your home should consider learning first aid and CPR.
- Check the pool occasionally to make sure that it’s structurally sound. This includes checking the chemical levels, the diving board, slide, and any railings that are used to enter and leave the pool.
- A pool alarm can help alert you if someone enters the pool while it’s not in use.
- Keep life saving devices nearby, and make sure that children wear life jackets.
It’s also important to be honest with your insurance company about having a pool. In the event that you have a personal injury claim against you, you can have an insurance policy that covers damages. All of these steps can give you peace of mind and ultimately make owning a pool less stressful.