In the summer, it is fun to be able to head out to the back yard and go straight into the pool to cool down. However, to many homeowners having a pool is more than that. It is sign of affluence, and many get the feeling that they've earned something special for their home. But those who have a pool also have a responsibility to make sure that others are safe around it from their own friends and family members to anyone else who might find themselves near the water. Most injuries that would happen in or around a pool fall qualify as premises liability situations.
Trespassers and the exception for kids
With premises liability, the responsibility to stay uninjured is shared by the property owner and the person who would be injured. The degree to which each is responsible depends on the age of person who is injured and their relation to the property owner. The least amount of responsibility is owed to an adult trespasser who is injured when they are on someone else's property without permission. Trespassers, in general are responsible for their own protection, but exceptions are made for children under an "attractive nuisance" provision in the law. Homes with pools are a prime example of where a child trespasser may be injured in a pool.
Kids are drawn to water as well as the "cool" factor of their neighbor who has a pool. Because of this, pool owners should take steps to make their swimming pool less enticing when it is not in use. They can keep a fence around the pool and have it covered with an automated cover when it is not in use. No pool toys should be left near the area that could potentially tempt a child to go near the pool whether they live in the household or not.
Invited guests and licensees
Any adult that goes onto a pool owner's property with permission as a guest or because they are licensed to be there for another purpose, such as doing contracting work or even delivering mail, takes on the bulk of the responsibility of the degree of care. Pool owners should warn of any problems with the pool that may make an accident more prevalent. They should take care to see that guests are not going into the pool alone, whether they are swimmers or not. It is always a good idea for another person to be aware when they are going in the pool, and keep up barriers to prevent people from falling in accidentally.
If you have a pool of your own, it is important to take whatever steps you can to prevent the injury of others, especially kids. Children can manage to find themselves in or around a pool in minutes, even if you and your family are not actively spending time there. If your neighbors have pools or if your child's friends have pools do your best to educate them on pool safety. If they are hurt, however, there's a good chance that you will have legal recourse whether they were invited into the pool or not. A personal injury attorney can help you sort out the extent of their injuries and how that might translate into getting compensation from the property owner. If you have questions about injuries sustained in a pool or who should be held responsible for those injuries, contact the Cleveland law firm of Jeffries, Kube, Forrest & Monteleone Co. L.P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys can help assess your situation and explain your legal rights and options.