Swimming pool owners have a certain amount of responsibility for any visitors who enter their pool area. If someone is injured on their property, they could be held liable. Each day, roughly 9 people in the United States drown and, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death for children under the age of 14. Even though most swimming pool accidents occur when a child is left unsupervised, adults who can swim could still be at risk if the pool area is hazardous in any way. Unfortunately, swimming pool-related accidents happen too frequently for comfort, which is why you need to know what you should do if you were injured.
If someone you love was injured in a swimming pool accident, it is important to understand how the incident occurred and who may be liable.
Common Types of Swimming Pool Accidents
Most swimming pool accidents occur because the victim was unable to swim and slipped into the pool, resulting in a drowning incident. Usually, these accidents occur because a child was left unsupervised and a pool gate was either left open or did not exist. For this reason, property owners should always have a fully enclosed barrier around their pool.
There are, however, other ways swimming pool accidents occur. If the pool has a diving board, the diver may become seriously injured while jumping into the pool. Even without a diving board, a diver could sustain a head or neck injury for jumping into a pool that is not deep enough for diving.
Other swimming pool injuries might occur if the area around the pool is not properly maintained. Any slippery flooring, debris, uneven pavement, or loose objects could create potential hazards for pool goers and bystanders alike. Such dangers could lead to broken bones, muscle strains, contusions, spinal injuries, head injuries, and drowning incidents. Even if a person knows how to swim, he or she could slip on the pavement and injure their head before falling into the pool unconscious, which could easily turn into a drowning incident. In any case, swimming pool accidents can be extremely dangerous and should be handled quickly and professionally.
Understanding Premises Liability
In most swimming pool incidents, the liability rests with the property owner. When a property owner is responsible for any damage or injury that takes place on their property, the incident is categorized as a premises liability case. The property owner, whether the pool is public or private, is responsible for keeping their pool safe. Public pool owners must follow specific state and federal laws in order to maintain a safe swimming environment for all invited visitors. If a public pool owner fails to follow these regulations by using hazardous equipment or failing to properly clean and maintain the pool, they could be held liable for the resulting damage.
Private pools are far less regulated, but it is still the responsibility of any property owner to inform guests of any potential dangers. As a pool owner, your pool should always be monitored as a potential hazard. However, if the injured party is a trespasser, the property owner is usually not held responsible for the injury, unless the trespasser is a child.
Allowances have been made for child trespassers, who may wander into another’s property without intending to. In an effort to protect wandering children, property owners who have anything dangerous or hazardous on their property, including swimming pools, must take extra safety measures. In other words, all swimming pools should be completely fenced in or made inaccessible to children. This rule, called the attractive nuisance doctrine, applies to both public and private pool owners and helps minimize the risk of drowning incidents.
If a pool owner has failed to follow the attractive nuisance doctrine and a child becomes injured in their pool, even if that child trespassed, the property owner could be held responsible.
If you or someone you love was injured in a swimming pool accident, our firm wants to help. To get started on your premises liability case, contact Samster Konkel & Safran, S.C. and discuss your situation with our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys.