It's Pool Time! What's Your Liability?

June 2, 2015

Backyard swimming pools, while fun, provide serious swimming pool liability. The homeowner can be held responsible for any injuries or deaths that take place in or around the pool, even if the victims were trespassing, scaled a fence to access it, or otherwise used it without the homeowner's permission. If you or your child has been injured in a neighbor's pool, the homeowner faces liability for the harm you or the child suffered.  A personal injury attorney with experience in pool accident liability cases should be consulted before taking any legal or insurance related action.

 

Homeowner Liability

Homeowner liability stems from negligence, or the failure to do what a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. Injuries resulting from a lack of security around a pool or a failure to properly maintain the pool in good condition may result in homeowner liability because homeowners with pools are expected to protect guests and prevent unwanted visitors.  If a homeowner is negligent in keeping the pool area safe and inaccessible, then he could be liable for injuries suffered in or around the pool.

 

In addition, most states, cities, and towns have statutes regarding the construction and maintenance of residential swimming pools, including requirements for special covers, locked gates, and fencing. Though these restrictions may seem elaborate, failure to comply with ordinances can invite injury and may make proving liability easier because failing to comply with protective law makes a homeowner strictly liable - meaning there is no need to prove negligence.

 

Swimming Pool Slip and Fall Liability

Due to the high risk of slip and fall accidents in slippery areas surrounding a swimming pool, owners must take reasonable care to provide non-slip surfaces and to take other measures to prevent accidents such as warning guests of an unsafe condition or cleaning up standing puddles of water on the pool deck.  To establish negligence in a slip and fall case, you will have to show either that the pool owner negligently created the puddle, or negligently failed to remedy the puddle after notice that it was there. Negligence law requires attorneys, judges, and juries to consider all the factors surrounding the slip and fall injury that occurs on a pool deck, however, the pool owner will usually be at a disadvantage due to the high standard of care they are held to.

 

Attractive Nuisance and Trespassers

Typically a homeowner has no liability for injuries suffered by trespassers on his property, however, attractive nuisance is a legal loophole in the traditional liability approach to trespassers which states that a homeowner can be responsible for injuries to a young trespasser if there is an object on the property which attracts children. Playground equipment and pools are the most common examples of attractive nuisances, and in terms of swimming pool accident liability the homeowner is typically liable for injuries to children unless it is physically impossible for the child to reach the pool.  If your child is injured or drowns in a neighbors pool, the homeowner may be liable for the full extent of the damages under the legal theory of attractive nuisance.  As with any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits involving children, an experienced attorney should be involved.

 

Insurance and Swimming Pool Liability

While technically a homeowner’s insurance policy may offer coverage for a pool, the truth is that any sort of coverage, even through the most comprehensive policy a homeowner can purchase, is not necessarily going to be enough to protect him should you or your child be seriously hurt in the pool.  Typically pool owners are required to purchase a separate insurance policy for swimming pool liability, or an umbrella policy for the home, which would give them enough coverage for most accidents.  This benefits injured parties because it allows the case to be handled by insurance rather than a lawsuit, however, depending on the nature of the swimming pool accident and the willingness of the insurance company to pay for damages, legal action may be required.

 

TIP:  Working with insurance companies can be stressful, difficult, and intimidating.  Insurance adjusters can, and commonly will, make serious effort to shift responsibility for the accident in order to avoid a large payout.  Even if you don't feel legal action is necessary, consulting with an attorney prior to working with a pool owner's insurance company prior to filing your claim can be a good idea.

 

 

Fanning Law, LLC Can Help

The facts of each case are unique and the laws in each state are different. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. It is not legal advice. For more information about your specific questions, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at www.fanninglawllc.com

 

Article provided by Free Advice.http://accident-law.freeadvice.com/accident-law/accident-law/tresspasser-liabilty.htm

 

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