Swimming Pool Hazards and Liability

There are few things more enticing than a swimming pool filled with clear blue sparkling water. Swimming pools are great attractions: They’re more convenient than the beach and you don’t have to deal with sand getting everywhere. Yes, pools are appealing, but they’re also fraught with hazards. Swimming pool-related accidents are a major cause of injury for children under age 14, even when a parent is present.

Owners and managers of swimming pools owe serious responsibilities to those who use the pool. Liability for swimming pool accidents stems from premises liability, which imposes a duty on the owner of a house, land, or store to keep the premises in safe condition and to protect visitors on the premises from foreseeable harm. The liability applies to private residential swimming pools and public-access pools, school, spa, gym, and amusement park pools. The kind of swimming pool does not matter: It can be in-ground, above ground, or indoors.

The owner of the pool is liable to someone who’s injured whether the person is an invited guest, a paying guest, or a trespasser. The list of possible pool-related injuries include drowning, slip-and-fall, negative reaction to pool chemicals, water-borne infection, and injury from horseplay in or out of the water.

Safety measures

Each state and many municipalities have laws mandating precautions pool owners must take, including:

  • Erecting fencing around the pool and locking all gates
  • Posting signs and notices about dangers and prohibited activities, such as diving, running, cannonballing
  • Keeping the area surrounding the pool free of glass and other debris and wiping away puddles and other accumulations of water
  • Applying nonslip material to surrounding surfaces
  • Properly and safely mixing and maintaining the chemical levels of the water
  • Clearing the drains and other water conduits of trash and debris and covering the drains with grilles

Lifeguard or other supervision

While a lifeguard may be a requirement for public-access pools, residential pool owners are not expected to provide a certified professional lifeguard. The private pool owner must, however, ensure there is adult supervision while the pool is being used and while someone is in the areas of the pool. Supervision is especially critical when children are in the area or in the pool.

The adult supervisor should be attentive and not preoccupied with a cell phone or other device or deeply engaged in conversation or consuming alcohol.

Attractive nuisance

An attractive nuisance is an object, such as a swimming pool, trampoline, or swing set, that tends to draw people—particularly the very young—by its mere presence. Because the pull is so strong the law acknowledges that something as potentially fun as a pool or a trampoline can be hard for neighbors to resist, and so imposes a heavy duty on owners of such attractions to make access to them as close to impossible to achieve.

Where a swimming pool owner fails to adequately fence in the pool and secure the gates, cover the pool with a tarpaulin, and post clearly worded warning signs, he or she may be liable to someone injured while “enjoying” the pool even if the person is a trespasser on the premises.

The lawyers of Angell Law Firm are personal injury experts; it’s the only kind of case they handle. If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool-related accident while on private or public property, the Angell Law Firm can help. Call (770) 217-4954 today to discuss your legal options. The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves the Rome, Augusta, Athens, Macon, Columbus, Savannah areas and more.