Swimming pools can be a lot of fun but they can also cause grave injuries if an owner does not take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of swimmers. Even though it is often the fault of the property owner, liability for swimming pool accidents can rest with many different parties.
Who can potentially be liable for a swimming pool accident?
Depending on whether the pool was public or private, whether the injured party was an invited guest or a trespasser, and what caused the injury in question, there can be a number of possible parties you can hold liable.
- Pool owner
- Lifeguard (In many cases, you would sue the pool owner under vicarious liability. An employer is liable for his employees’ actions.)
- Pool operator or manager
- Property owner
- Pool maintenance company
- Pool equipment manufacturer (for defective products)
- Governmental entity (for a public pool)
What must the owner or operator do to ensure the safety of swimmers?
Whether the pool is on commercial or residential property, the property owner has a duty of care to anyone he invites to use his pool. The level of care may be different depending on the age of the injured party (minor trespassers, for example, may be protected) and whether it is a commercial or personal relationship, but in every circumstance, the owner owes a duty to individuals swimming in his pool.
- Ensuring proper and appropriate supervision is another area of liability for a pool owner
- Taking care to install a proper drain cover to minimize the risk of a swimmer getting entrapped or hurt due to a drain (required under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act)
- Maintaining the pool safely to avoid recreational water illnesses by keeping the pool clean and properly chemically balanced
- Keeping the pool deck area clear and monitoring behavior to minimize the risk of slips and falls
Note: In some cases, especially in regards to children, whether the owner invited the injured party onto his property does not matter. Florida operates under the attractive nuisance doctrine, which states that property owners must close off “attractive nuisances” on their property. This means that if your child trespassed onto the property to use the pool and suffered injuries, the owner may still be liable if he did not take the necessary precautions, such as a fence or pool cover, to close off the pool.
What must a claimant prove to be eligible for damages?
To recover damages in a swimming pool accident case, a claimant must prove that the owner owed the swimmer a duty, that owner breached that duty, that the breach resulted in injury, and that the injury resulted in damages.
To prove liability, you need evidence. A premises liability attorney at the Montero Law Center can help you gather evidence and prove negligence if you or someone you love suffered injuries in a swimming pool accident. Contact us today at 954-767-6500.