Unfortunately, residential swimming pool accidents are widespread, and the casualties are frequently children or teens. In these circumstances, the homeowner may be held accountable under various swimming pool owner liability theories.
Landowner Liability For A Child Drowning In A Swimming Pool
What Are the Most Common Swimming Pool Mishaps?
The following are some of the most common swimming pool accidents:
- Accidents caused by slipping and falling
- Injuries from diving boards
- Broken limbs, cuts, and infections
Any of these can be the direct result of pool or pool equipment faults or the pool owner’s failure to pay attention to what is happening at their pool. Pool owners must maintain their pool, install a barrier to prohibit entry to anyone who has not been asked to use the pool, and oversee all pool users to ensure no one is injured.
What Factors Contribute to Swimming Pool Accidents?
A variety of circumstances cause swimming pool accidents. They are as follows:
- Swimmers with insufficient swimming abilities, particularly in the deep end of the pool
- Inadequate supervision of swimmers
- Using alcohol while swimming
- Other unforeseeable events
Some pool-related mishaps may occur outside of the pool’s owner’s control. Swimmers without strong skills are susceptible to accidents. Pool guests who act irresponsibly around the pool, such as sprinting on slick, wet pavement or tiles, are also vulnerable.
However, if a child goes into a pool area and falls in the water because there is no barrier around the pool and inadequate monitoring, the pool owner is likely to be held liable for the drowning.
When certain components are present, the landowner is obligated to take reasonable safeguards. When children are killed or wounded in swimming pools, courts may allow the application of the attractive nuisance theory to hold landowners accountable.
For example, the parents of a 2-year-old kid may be eligible to recover from homeowners who had a pool with a diving board and slide in their backyard. Neither the yard nor the pool was fenced-in or otherwise secured.
Because children were known to be in the vicinity, the homeowners were held accountable for failing to install a fence to protect children while knowing that the presence of a playground-style slide was likely to draw children.
What if Someone Trespasses and Drowns?
In general, these instances are handled by premises liability, which refers to laws defining who is at fault when a property feature or condition causes injury.
A property owner will be liable if someone dies due to a pool or other unsafe water feature.
However, the extent to which the property owner is accountable is determined by who is damaged by the water.
Most states recognize many types of “entrants,” which is the term used to describe anyone who uses the property. While states may differ slightly in their interpretation of what types of entrants exist, there is typically a distinction between invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Visitors to a public pool or swimming area who have paid or entered the property for free are considered invitees. Invitees are subject to the most stringent premises liability rules, and property owners must make all necessary efforts to ensure the location is reasonably safe.
In most circumstances, this does not refer to obvious hazards such as slick surfaces near the sea or incorrect diving.
Suppose there is a difficult-to-see barrier in the water. Property owners may be accountable to invitees if safety equipment is badly maintained or absent or if it is unclear how deep the water is. Inadequate lighting and poor water quality can also make it impossible for individuals to look into the pool, making the property owner accountable.
Licensees are those who have been granted permission to use a private pool, such as a backyard pool, for a party. Although premises legislation is less stringent for licensees, property owners must nonetheless notify guests about hidden dangers.
For example, if a loose rock near the water’s edge causes a child to fall in, the property owner may be held liable if the child is injured.
Most drowning accidents involving trespassers do not result in culpability on the property owner’s part. The key exception, however, is for young trespassers. Property owners must take adequate precautions to keep youngsters out, such as building a robust fence to prevent unintentional access.
Regardless, such situations can be difficult to manage and are best handled by an attorney.
Depending on the details of the case, multiple parties may be held accountable for negligence in a drowning lawsuit. For example, a backyard swimming pool owner may be held responsible to a nearby family if their child drowns in the pool.
The negligence claim may be founded on a home pool owner’s failure to install a fence that adequately prevents unsupervised neighborhood youngsters from accessing the pool. Or there could have been fencing, but the gates were left unsecured.
On the other hand, pool coverings may not have been efficient in keeping people out of the pool. Various factual circumstances could lead to a negligence action against the backyard pool owner.
Product defects can play a role in drownings.
Equipment manufacturers and distributors may be held accountable for injuries caused by defective items. Warning label faults and other problems linked with water-related equipment, such as diving gear, might give rise to strict product liability for drowning injuries. Alternatively, an above-ground swimming pool could be built incorrectly, resulting in a drowning accident.
Who Can Be Held Accountable for Negligence?
Pool owners and managers, wherever they are located, as well as water parks, may be held accountable for negligence. They owe the public a duty of care; if they fail to meet that responsibility and cause injury, the owners and managers may be held accountable for negligence.
Again, governmental agencies may be held accountable for carelessness in the operation of public swimming pools owned and operated by them. When the pool is open, lifeguards must be on duty. When an incident occurs, they must be properly trained and respond correctly.
Tour guides and anyone who organizes tourist groups near aquatic attractions, such as snorkeling or scuba diving guides, may also be held accountable if they conduct group activities negligently.
Willful Or Wanton Misconduct
Landowners may be held accountable for willful or wanton misbehavior if they allow youngsters to get access to their property.
For example, suppose a 5-year-old boy enters and falls through the ice of a pool.
In that case, homeowners who fail to erect a fence with a self-closing and self-locking gate, as required by permit when they built the pool, may be found liable for infliction of intentional, willful, and wanton injury and the creation of a hazard.
Landowners have been held accountable for a child’s injuries due to a lack or inadequacy of supervision in the usage or access to a swimming pool.
For example, the mother of a two-year-old girl who drowned in a neighbor’s pool may be entitled to recover for inadequate supervision.
Assume the mother left her child in the neighbor’s yard to play with the neighbor’s youngster.
There was a swimming pool and numerous pieces of playground equipment in the yard. After approximately 30 minutes of playing in the yard, the neighbor declared that she would see a friend and told the kids not to go near the pool.
When she returns around 30 minutes later, she discovers her daughter’s body floating in the pool. This will almost certainly make the neighbor responsible.
Should I Consult An Attorney?
Child drownings are always upsetting and emotional events. An attorney can assist you whether you are the parent of a child who drowned in a pool or the owner of a property where a child drowned.
A wrongful death lawyer can assist you in understanding the law and assert your rights.
Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer in your Area?
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia