The thrill of floating, the refreshing water and the ability to defy gravity are just some of the elements that make swimming pools irresistible to children. They may even try to swim and play in someone else’s pool when no one is looking, given their natural curiosity. However, if they drown or hurt themselves, the liability may fall on the pool owner.
The heavy responsibilities of owning a pool
Under premises liability laws, property owners, especially those with pools, owe a responsibility to individuals they welcome on their premises to safeguard them against known and foreseeable danger.
The combination of slippery surfaces and large volumes of water make pools a common source of injury. However, the risk of accidents may increase if owners do not adhere to safety codes, perform regular maintenance, repair known dangers or provide appropriate warnings.
For instance, swimmers might sustain serious injuries if their bathing suits or body parts are caught in defective drain covers. Meanwhile, low lighting or muddy water due to poor maintenance could make it difficult to see a drowning victim. A lack of fences or gates may also allow children to enter unsupervised.
Why a private pool owner might be liable for a trespassing child’s injuries
Although premises liability laws typically do not apply to trespassers, a legal doctrine called attractive nuisance may still hold a property owner responsible for trespassing children. These refer to a certain feature in a property such as pools, ladders or ramps which can attract children, but have the potential to harm them.
Because children do not fully understand the dangers of playing around swimming pools and other kinds of attractive nuisances, it is the owner’s responsibility to secure them so that children cannot access them.
The variety of swimming pool injuries is terrifying for any parent, ranging from fractures and drowning to infections and even traumatic brain injuries. These injuries may require extensive and costly medical treatment. Should the unthinkable happen, and your child suffers an injury in someone else’s pool, it is possible that you may hold the owner accountable.