Liability Of A Hotel Or Resort For Swimming Pool Injuries

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Actions to recover for swimming-pool accidents at hotels, motels, resorts, and private association or club facilities are governed by standard negligence principles.  Many times lawsuits include violations of statutory requirements for swimming pools.  Liability depends on the circumstances of each case, but examples of successful suits include:

Absence Or Inadequacy Of Lifeguards

A hotel or resort may be negligent for failing to provide some person experienced in life saving or warning of the absence of one.  For example, one court held a motel liable based on the absence of a lifeguard.  A boy who had just dove from the pool's diving board and was swimming toward the side of the pool was injured when another bather dove from the diving board and struck the boy.  The court held that the motel's failure to provide a lifeguard was negligence.

A hotel or resort can also be liable for a lifeguard's inadequate supervision.  For example, the mother of a 9 year-old boy who drowned in a pool at the YMCA was allowed to recover because of inadequate supervision at the pool.  There were 38 boys at the pool and only one trained lifeguard, a 67-year-old man who, according to some witnesses, spent some of his time reading a newspaper. The court found that one lifeguard was insufficient to supervise that number of boys.

Lack Of Safety Equipment Or Instruction

Liability may also exist based on the absence of safety equipment or instruction, such as telephone numbers of nearby emergency agencies.  Additionally, statutes may require specific safety devices or notices, the absence of which may be evidence of negligence per se (an act which is intrinsically negligent because of the violation of a statute).  For example, one motel was found liable for not having any life-saving equipment or anyone trained in resuscitation available.  A guest was walking in the pool in water almost over his head when he slipped and went under. The court held that since he was a registered guest of the motel, the motel owed him a duty of reasonable care.

Insufficient Water Depth

Many jurisdictions have statutes requiring a proper amount of water in a swimming pool.  Many lawsuits have focused on the insufficient amount of water in a pool to establish liability.  In one case, a hotel was held liable when a guest dove into the swimming pool and hit bottom.  The court held the hotel negligent for failing to comply with a safety regulation requiring swimming pools to have a minimum water depth under a diving board.

Similarly, hotels and resorts have been held liable for injuries caused by lack of depth markings.  For example, a 13 year-old was able to recover from a conference center after he attempted to swim across the shallow end of the pool but somehow was pulled under water.  He was found floating face-down in the deep end of the pool.  The court held the center liable for violating a safety regulation requiring a permanently readable depth marking.

Lack Of Visibility Or Lighting

Lack of visibility or lighting which causes injury can support the liability of a hotel or resort.  For example, when lack of lighting causes a guest to slip and fall, the hotel or resort may be liable for the resulting injury.  Additionally, the fact that an underwater light in a swimming pool is not operating can also be evidence of negligence.  


Should I Consult An Attorney Regarding Swimming Pool Injuries?

If you have been injured in a swimming pool, a personal injury attorney can help develop your case against the hotel or resort.  Proving negligence can be difficult, but an experienced attorney can help explain the law and your rights so that you can recover damages for your injuries.

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Last Modified: 10-13-2011 12:26 PM PDT

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