Homeowners, Premises Liability, And Swimming Pool Risk
For some Florida residents, the swimming pool is a goal to strive for as both a sign of success and a much-desired piece of backyard landscaping. For others, the swimming pool is already an important fixture of home life, a source of recreation and fitness they take advantage of throughout the year in Florida’s warm environment.
Sadly, however, a swimming pool, while fun, can also be a source risk, and anyone that owns a swimming pool also “owns” the legal accountability that comes with it.
Premises Liability At Home
Premises liability is a legal concept that assigns responsibility—and fault—to the owner of a property under certain conditions. A property owner, whether for business or private residence, has a legal obligation to ensure “reasonable safety” within that property. If the property owner finds some aspect of the property that could potentially cause harm but chooses to ignore it, and an injury or death results, then premises liability is in effect. If it can be proven in court that the property owner ignored a potential threat, and the threat resulted in harm, that property owner is now both legally and financially accountable for what happened.
In a commercial setting, this can be any number of risks, such as a stairwell without working lights, potentially leading to a fall. Or an amusement park with a defective ride that could injure customers if allowed to operate further. In a private residential setting, a swimming pool can be a potent source of premises liability.
High Risk For A Home
According to the Center for Disease Control, an average of 10 Americans drown every day in swimming pools, and two of those 10 are children aged 14 and under. The reason for this is simple. A swimming pool must be large enough to swim in, and that always opens up the possibility of drowning for people that are unprepared and have no means of a safe recovery.
Children are the most at risk. Because children haven’t yet discovered their physical limits, or don’t realize the risks of a swimming pool, it’s not unusual for children to get in trouble around a swimming pool. This can be as simple as swimming out to the middle of the pool and not being able to get back, or as incidental as playing beside the pool, and either tripping and falling in, knocking someone else in who is unable to swim.
For a homeowner, this means that extra care must always be taken when children have access to a swimming pool. Supervision is always required, which is one reason why public swimming spaces have lifeguards on the watch to render assistance if trouble occurs.
If children are playing at a pool in a private residence and no one is supervising them, this is a clear case of premises liability. It’s well understood that children must be closely watched. Deciding not to do so, and leaving children alone to play unsupervised, constitutes seeing risk and neglecting to address it.
If you or another family member is injured or drowns as a result of negligence, talk to a swimming pool accident lawyer to find out how to make the people accountable take responsibility for their actions.