Swimming Pool Liability

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Many accidents in and around swimming pools and other swimming areas happen because the owner or management company of the land has been careless and has not taken enough care to protect the people swimming or otherwise using the area for recreation. In commercial facilities or places like public pools or camps where lifeguards are provided, the lifeguards must be on duty and attentive all the time that the pool is in use. Deaths and severe injuries have happened when lifeguards were lying down, reading, had their eyes closed, or were on a bathroom break. Small children are the most frequent victims of drowning accidents, and the pool owner or operator, public or private, has a duty to protect them. This may involve:

  • Fencing to prevent small children from entering
  • A gate with a latch too high for them to reach
  • A cover when the pool is not in use
  • Motion alarms to alert the owner that children are present
Pool owners should have safety equipment like a shepherd's hook and a ring buoy in good condition and quickly available. It would be a good idea to also have a first aid kit and a spinal board available, since diving accidents often cause spinal injuries.

Accidents in Public Pools

Different rules apply when you're suing a local, state, or federal government entity as opposed to a private party. Governments generally have the same duty to maintain government-owned property in a safe condition or to avoid carelessness as private and commercial landowners. The difference is in the procedures for suing them and the amounts of money that can be collected for damages. The federal government and all states have laws that set out how governments can be sued. The federal law is called the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA). These statutes often have special procedural requirements for lawsuits and may have different time deadlines than apply to other cases. Under the FTCA the federal government is legally responsible for injuries in the same way private landowners would be in the location where the accident happened. So if you are injured on federal land because of government negligence, it would be the tort liability law of the state where the land is located that would govern your case (not federal law), but you would need to follow all the procedural requirements of the FTCA, such as when and where to file the lawsuit, and with what paperwork. Seek the advice of an attorney (see below) if you are suing a government entity. State laws in this area differ widely. Some states apply recreation use statutes and hold that governments aren't liable for injuries on land open to the public for free, while other states have decided that those laws don't apply to governments. A few states have passed special laws that protect governments from liability on public lands. Some states also have limits on the amount of damages that can be collected for injuries on public land. You need to check both your state's tort claims laws and its recreational use laws if you are injured on land owned by a state or a local government. Swimming accidents can trigger a number of complex legal issues, such as product liability, negligence and premises liability. This coupled with the fact that injured parties only have a certain amount of time to sue or they lose their right to sue for their injuries, makes it important to seek the advice of an attorney if you believe you are entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and the like. If you are looking for an experienced injury attorney, call 843-722-8070 for a free consultation.

Residential Pool Liability

Before you open up your backyard pool to family and friends this summer, it's necessary that you take the required steps to protect them as well as yourself. The rules of negligence require that you act with the utmost care with respect to your backyard pool, regardless of the season. You are responsible for ensuring the safety of invited guests, and the failure to do so is likely to land you in court. This is especially true if children are on your property. What this means is that you must inspect your pool to ensure that it is in proper working order, as well as take safety precautions to ensure that your visitors don't get hurt. The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests you do the following:
  • Install at least a 4 foot fence around your pool/spa
  • Use self-closing and latching gates
  • Remove steps/ladders from above-ground pools
  • Install pool covers
  • Ensure properly functioning drain covers
  • Use proper chemicals to avoid bacterial contamination
  • Have flotation devices and reaching poles nearby
  • Learn CPR for children and adults
  • Closely supervise children
The lesson here is pretty simple--to avoid swimming pool liability lawsuits, you should spend some of your time and money brushing up on pool safety.

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Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, business tort, or workplace injury. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.