Can You Sue if You Get Hurt In a Swimming Pool?
A dip in a pool can be irresistible on a hot day — but pools come with natural risks. Whether you’re at a hotel pool, residential pool, or public swimming pool, you expect a certain level of maintenance and care to keep the pool and its surrounding areas safe. If the pool owner fails to take the proper precautions, an ordinary pool could become a site of injury or tragedy.
In the summer of 2019 alone, over 150 children younger than 15 drowned in swimming pools or spas. A third (33%) of child drownings are reported to happen during family gatherings near pools. However, parents and child caretakers can only be so vigilant if improper maintenance makes a pool unexpectedly dangerous.
The dangers don’t just apply to children. Up to 4,000 people drown in the U.S. every year on average. For every drowning victim, an estimated 5-10 people need hospital care for nonfatal injuries related to drowning – including traumatic brain injuries from a lack of oxygen. Wet, hard surfaces around pools can also pose a risk for catastrophic slip and fall accidents.
If you or your child were hurt at a swimming pool, extensive medical treatment may be needed for recovery. Or you may have lost a loved one to a swimming pool accident. In situations like these, it’s important to hold the person responsible for the injuries accountable. How should you move forward?
The first step you should take is to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case. You may have legal claims for negligence, premises liability, or wrongful death. You may be owed thousands or even millions of dollars in damages to compensate you for your losses.
Who Is Liable If Someone Gets Hurt in a Pool?
Determining liability (fault or responsibility) for an accident is one of the most important steps in putting together a successful personal injury case.
Every case is different, which makes each case fact-specific. Your personal injury lawyer can help investigate the facts of your case and gather the evidence you need to prove your claims.
Depending on where and how an injury happened, you could file a lawsuit against:
- The owner of a private or residential swimming pool
- The owner of a commercial swimming pool that is open to guests, such as at a hotel, motel, spa, health club, gym, or campground
- The government entity that owns the public, municipal, or school pool
- The person or business in possession of the pool at the time of the accident
- The manufacturer, designer, or distributor of a defective pool component or part
In order to win your case, you must prove with evidence that:
- The pool owner or operator had a duty of reasonable care to you,
- The pool owner or operator failed to live up to their duty of care (either through negligence, recklessness, or even intentional or knowing conduct), and
- That failure was a direct cause of you suffering actual harm or injury.
In some cases, even trespassers are covered under liability rules because pools are often considered an “attractive nuisance” under the law. That means strangers, especially minors or children, could be tempted to trespass to use the pool even without permission.
Most states require owners to maintain secure fencing around their pools to keep children out. The degree of liability in your case will depend on the laws and regulations in your state and locality.
Reasons for Suing a Public or Private Pool Owner or Operator
Depending on the facts of your case, you may have multiple legal claims against the party or parties responsible for your swimming pool injury or the loss of a loved one. Below are a few common examples of negligence that can be grounds for a lawsuit:
- Inadequate supervision – Proper supervision can help prevent tragedy. A homeowner may be responsible for any injuries suffered by guests in their pool because of a lack of supervision. This is especially true if the pool owner was supposed to be supervising children. Private businesses with pools have an even greater duty to protect their guests.
- Not enough lifeguards on duty – Some states and localities require commercial pools operating above a certain number of guests to have a minimum number of lifeguards on duty at all times. Such a pool must also make sure its lifeguards are properly trained.
- Improper signage or lack of warning signs – Pool owners must generally warn users of possible dangers from using the pool. That includes posting water depth as well as “swim at your own risk” signs if there are no lifeguards.
- Improper pool maintenance – Pool owners can be held responsible for failing to keep their property maintained in a safe condition. Murky waters, clogged drains, debris, or broken stairs or handlebars could pose additional dangers to swimmers.
- Lack of proper fencing – Many states have strict requirements for swimming pool owners to install secure, locked fencing to keep out children and trespassers.
- Violations of pool laws or ordinances – Swimming pools can be dangerous if they’re built in a way that violates federal, state, or local laws or ordinances.
- Defective components or parts – You could have a legal claim against pool component manufacturers if a defect causes the pool to become unsafe. For example, a step-ladder to get out of the pool may not be made of strong enough material and collapse.
The best course of action after a swimming pool injury is to seek a legal consultation about your options.
A lawsuit based on personal injury, premises liability, or wrongful death can get you compensation for your losses as a result of a swimming pool injury or death. Any damages you get from a settlement or court judgment could cover:
- The cost of current and future medical treatments,
- Lost wages or income as a result of the victim being unable to work,
- Pain, suffering, or emotional distress
- Long-term disability or supportive care
To maximize the amount of compensation you’re able to recover for your case, call the nationally recognized lawyers at the Wilshire Law Firm at (800) 501-3011 or use our online contact form. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay us any legal fees unless we win your case. Our team is ready to fight for you and your family!