Rising summer temperatures have a lot of families strategizing and struggling to "beat the heat." Is it any wonder, then, that a lot of people turn toward local swimming pools -- whether they're in the neighbor's backyard or open to the community -- as a source of relief?
Hopefully, you won't actually need this information any time soon, but it's smart to have a basic working knowledge about pool injuries and legal liabilities before you head out. Here's what you should know:
1. Pool owners have a responsibility to keep the area reasonably safe
Yes, everyone knows that pools can be a little bit dangerous. That's why pool owners and operators are expected to minimize the risks people face. For example, it's not unreasonable to expect:
- A clean, well-maintained area
- Rules that prohibit running, pushing, shoving and rough-housing by the pool
- Rules that prohibit diving in the water when other people are in the pool
- Signs alerting patrons or public pools about the availability of lifeguards
- Secured access to pools to keep out children and other intruders when the pool is unsupervised
Accidents are more likely to happen when a pool's owner doesn't take precautions -- and that can confer legal responsibility on that owner for a victim's losses.
2. Slips, falls and drownings aren't the only potential risks swimmers face
There are numerous other possible injuries you could face when you're in a pool. For example:
- Chemical injuries can occur when a pool owner misuses the chloride and other products designed to keep the water clean.
- Slides are fun -- but they can also lead to serious injuries, including broken bones.
- Infections are possible when the water in a pool is allowed to stagnate or become otherwise contaminated by overuse.
If you have an accident at a pool or a loved one suffers a serious injury, the owner cannot simply disavow responsibility for the accident. The liability in these situations can be complicated, and you're best advised to discuss the situation with an attorney.