Swimming pools are always a source of fun for people during the dog days of summer. And for those in Florida, year-round. However, with swimming pool ownership comes a number of legal responsibilities that the owner has when it comes to safety. Schrier Law Group is here to go over the laws if one fails to follow any one of said laws, they can be held liable when someone drowns in their pool. This goes for public pools as well as private backyard swimming pools.
When one dies in a drowning accident at a private pool or a public pool, their loved ones may be able to file a negligence lawsuit against the owner. They can also file a lawsuit if their loved one suffers brain injuries or any other type of harm.
Liability presents an issue for swimming pool owners. If an accident happens at someone’s swimming pool, chances are that they can be held responsible for it. There are lawsuit verdicts that have held hotels and property owners responsible for drownings that happened in their pools.
Premises Liability Law Applies to Swimming Pool Accidents
The first thing to understand is the law that applies to swimming pool accidents. The standard concepts of premises liability law will apply, albeit with some differences that are unique to the context of pool safety.
Premises liability generally holds that a property owner is responsible for any injuries that occur on their property. The exceptions to premises law liability include when the injured person is a trespasser on the land and when they were the cause of their own injury. However, a landowner owes a higher standard of care when a child is on their land that would include warning them of obvious dangers to them.
When it comes to a swimming pool, homeowners would need to show an even higher standard of care for children that come onto the property under something called the “attractive nuisance doctrine.”
When are Owners Liable for Swimming Pool Accidents
There are circumstances in which swimming pool owners could be liable for drownings in their pool.
- The child was not adequately supervised in the swimming pool
- The pool was not kept in a state of good repair
- The pool was not fenced off or covered
- There was not the proper safety equipment
Pool Owners’ Homeowners Policies
When it comes to paying for the damages caused by a homeowner’s swimming pool, the first place to go would be their homeowner’s insurance policy. This policy has a liability portion that would cover injury or death in a swimming pool.
However, many homeowners may not have a high amount of liability coverage attached to their homeowners’ policy. Certainly, they may not have enough to cover swimming pool injuries.
The standard amount of liability coverage in a homeowners policy is $300,000, which may be insufficient to cover the damages if someone drowns in the pool. If the amount of homeowner’s insurance is not enough, you would need to go after other assets of the homeowner to satisfy the judgment because the insurance company cannot be made to pay more than the policy limits.
Homeowners should increase their liability insurance if they have a swimming pool on their property and have invited guests. However, many of them are either trying to keep their policy premiums low or do not realize the dangers of their own swimming pool or the extent of their possible pool liability.