Can Property Owners Be Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents?

kids-climbing-pool-fenceSwimming pool incidents that cause severe injuries or fatal drowning accidents can sometimes be prevented. When property owners fail to take reasonable precautions to protect pool users, such as restrict access to the pool with a fence or gate, they could be held liable for damages in a premises liability claim.

If you or a loved one were injured in a swimming pool accident that could have been prevented, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for medical expenses and other damages. Having a qualified attorney on your side could make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.

If you have any questions about your swimming pool accident claim, contact Arnold Law Firm to schedule a free case review with our licensed Sacramento personal injury lawyers.

Duty of Care When a Property Has a Swimming Pool 

Homeowners and property owners have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect visitors who are legally allowed on the premises.

California’s Swimming Pool Safety Act sets various regulations property owners must adhere to when they have a swimming pool on the premises. For example, there must be 60-inch access gates for residential swimming pool enclosures along with self-latching locks that must be at least 60 inches from the ground. The outside surface of the enclosure must be free of items that could be used as a foothold or handhold, such as:

  • Protrusions
  • Cavities
  • Other similar surfaces that could be used to aid climbing over the enclosure

Under the Swimming Pool Safety Act, suction outlets must be covered with anti-entrapment grates that cannot be removed unless tools are used.

California also sets various regulations (22 California Code of Regulations § 65535) for operators of pools open to the public. For example, operators must keep the following areas well-maintained:

  • Water treatment systems
  • Ancillary facilities
  • Signs
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Dressing facilities
  • Drinking fountains
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Doors
  • Lockers

If lifeguard service is provided, pool operators must ensure continuous surveillance of pool users. They must also wear swimming apparel that clearly identifies them as lifeguards.

Public pool operators must ensure a life ring with an attached throw rope is at the pool at all times. There must also be a fixed-length rescue pole with a permanently attached body hook.

If the property owner fails to follow these or other regulations and guests suffer injuries, the property owner could potentially be held liable for the damages suffered.

Other Entities That Could Be Liable for a Swimming Pool Accident

Sometimes, the property owner may share liability with other entities, including:

Government entities – If the accident occurred on government-owned property, your lawyer may be able to file a claim against them. However, filing a claim against the government is different from filing a claim against a private citizen. Contacting an experienced attorney promptly is very important in this situation.

Manufacturers, designers or distributors – If the swimming pool accident was caused by a defective product, the manufacturer, designer or distributor could be held liable. If the product became defective because of the way it was installed, the company that installed it could be liable.

Keeping Pools Safe

There are a variety of steps property owners and homeowners can take to help reduce the risk of an accident in or around the pool:

  • Only allow people to enter the pool when a responsible adult is present
  • Prohibit intoxicated guests in the pool area
  • Be sure that children are constantly under competent adult supervision
  • Avoid leaving toys in the pool that may attract children
  • Cover the pool when not in use
  • Be sure everyone using the pool knows how to swim
  • Review life-saving techniques and basic first aid with visitors
  • Install a pool alarm that will indicate when someone is entering the pool

Talk to a Legal Professional About Your Swimming Pool Accident

If you or a loved one was hurt in a swimming pool accident, you may have legal options to consider, depending on the details of your situation. 

Our firm offers free consultations to injury victims and we do not charge any lawyer fees unless we recover funds for your claim. There is no obligation to hire our lawyers, even after your complimentary consultation.

Call the Arnold Law Firm today at (916) 777-7777.