Swimming Pool Accidents and Determining Liability
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 11, 2017 in Premises Liability
Many people flock to swimming pools each year to get out of the sun and enjoy warm weather. However, recreational time can quickly become dangerous when pool owners fail to take proper precautions to keep the pool safe.
If property owners do not fulfill their legal duties, accident victims may be able to pursue compensation for the damages they have sustained.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend premises liability attorneys are familiar with the types of injury claims that may arise from swimming pools and the premises liability principles that may apply to the case. Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation legal consultation and find out if you have a viable claim.
Below, our lawyers review some of the most common types of swimming pool injuries and some of the legal principles that apply to swimming pool accident claims.
Types of Swimming Pool Hazards/Injuries
Swimming pools pose a number of risks to individuals. Some of the most common hazards and possible injuries include:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there were 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014. The CDC also reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between ages one and four. When drowning is not fatal, it can cause brain damage due to the loss of oxygen during the near-drowning incident.
Failure to Follow Regulations
Various cities in Indiana have specific rules related to the construction, maintenance and supervision of pools.
For example, Bloomington requires that all pools be surrounded by a fence that is between four to six feet tall with self-latching, self-closing gates. These rules are designed to prevent trespassers and children from going in the pool without the property owner’s knowledge. If followed, the regulations can help prevent drownings and other pool-related injuries.
Slips and Falls
Another type of hazard is wet ground around the pool. This can cause guests to slip and fall, leading to a variety of severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, fractures or spinal cord injuries.
Defective Pool Drains
Pool drains that are not properly covered can lead to drowning, soft tissue injuries or damage to internal organs.
Pool Owners Can Be Held Liable
When someone is injured in a pool, the owner of the pool may be held liable based on premises liability principles. Premises liability refers to the legal duties that are imposed on property owners to help prevent injuries to visitors.
The property owner’s duty depends on the visitor's legal classification when he or she entered the property. There are three main types of legal classifications for visitors to a property:
- Invitees – An example of an invitee is someone who uses a public pool. The property owner has a duty to reasonably maintain and repair the pool in order to prevent injuries.
- Licensees – An example would be a social guest using a pool on private property. The property owner has a duty to warn licensees of dangers that are not obvious.
- Trespassers – These are people who do not have permission to be in the pool. The only legal duty the property owner owes to trespassers is to not intentionally harm them.
Under Indiana law, if a person trespasses on someone else’s land and is injured as a result, the trespasser is usually not allowed to recover compensation.
One exception to this general rule is for attractive nuisances. These are property features that inherently pique children's curiosity but are potentially dangerous. Examples include swimming pools, trampolines, junkyards and abandoned vehicles.
The property owner is responsible for taking reasonable steps to secure the property or sometimes to remove dangerous property features. This is because children do not understand the potential dangers of an attractive nuisance.
If a child is hurt by an attractive nuisance, the property owner can be held liable if the following conditions are met:
- The property feature in question inherently piques the interest of children
- The property feature is potentially dangerous
- The property owner should have reasonably known that the feature was potentially dangerous to children
- The property owner did not exercise proper care to remedy the danger
Contact Our Indiana Premises Liability Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in a pool owned by someone else, contact our reputable Indiana attorneys.
Our experienced legal team can investigate your claim to try to determine whether the property owner failed to meet his or her legal duty to keep the pool and surrounding area safe.
A South Bend injury lawyer from our firm can offer a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options. We do not collect legal fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.