Who Is Liable for Drowning and Accidents in Private Pools?
It's hot out and everyone is ready for a dip in the cool waters of the neighborhood pool. But the local swimming hole is actually your private property and you are concerned about liability if you let everyone use it.
Good -- you should be. You can be liable for all kinds of accidents that happen in your swimming pool, including drowning, even if you don't invite people to use it. Let's consider some situations you should work to avoid this summer so that the pool is a party and not a bummer.
The owner of a private pool is liable not only for what happens in the pool when someone is home and supervising swimmers but can also be held responsible for what happens when no one is around if they are somehow negligent. That is why you absolutely must ensure that your pool is not accessible to neighbors or strangers.
Private pool ownership means a lot of responsibility. Simply posting a sign that warns others that they are trespassing or swimming at their own risk is no guarantee that you will not be sued if someone gets hurt on your property. And that can hold true even when you didn't invite them.
When you do have guests, make sure to monitor any alcohol consumption that happens near the pool, and that children are never left unattended. Your fences must be high and lock from within, and you must ensure that neighborhood children cannot sneak onto your property and play when you are not home. You have a duty to prevent harm or you can be found negligent.
You may be surprised to know that in the law there is a concept called attractive nuisance, which acknowledges that small children will be tempted by dangerous terrain and makes property owners responsible for drawing them in. A cool pool on a hot summer day is pretty much the definition of an attractive nuisance, and very likely to draw visitors, whether or not they are invited.
You can't let that happen because you can't afford an accident on your property. Even if someone is swimming alone in your pool without permission, you can in certain situations be held liable and that will end up costing you dearly. This brings us to the topic of insurance.
Pool ownership can cost you a lot in maintenance but the area where you should really spare no expense is insurance. People drown in bodies of water and if someone drowns in the body of water that happens to be on your land, you must have a good insurance policy that can cover damages for substantial injury or even death on your property. A lot can go wrong -- from pool chemical injuries to electrocution
Talk to a Lawyer
If you or someone you love is hurt at a pool or anywhere else this summer, talk to a personal injury attorney and tell your story. Many lawyers consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
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- Swimming Pool Chemicals Injure Thousands Yearly (FindLaw's Injured)
- Girl, 11, Electrocuted in Swimming Pool (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.