Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Who Is Held Responsible For Swimming Pool Accidents In California?
Swimming pool accidents can lead to drowning, injuries, and the death of a loved one. These are costly, financially and emotionally, for the victim and family members alike.
Whether you're a victim, survivor, or grieving family member, you have the right to file claims and make the liable parties accountable for their negligence.
One of the first steps to filing a California personal injury or California wrongful death claim is to identify liable parties in the accident. This is crucial, as liability depends on the kind of property under California premises liability law.
Let's look at how liability applies to different types of swimming pool ownership and operations, as experienced by prescreened Los Angeles Swimming Pool Injury Attorneys.
Depending on the details of a case, it might be challenging to determine who is legally responsible for drowning in a pool.
Who owns and runs the pool should be the first thing to consider.
1. Private Swimming Pools
Just because you're on private property doesn't mean the owner isn't responsible for warning, putting lights, and addressing hazards in their pools. If the pool is privately owned, the owner could be held legally responsible for any accidents under the premises liability laws.
California Swimming Pool Injury Attorneys often deal with private pools, too; the crucial aspect has always been the owner's "duty of care."
Property owners have a legal obligation to safeguard the safety of visitors and take reasonable steps to prevent accidents and injuries, which is known as a "duty of care" concerning those who enter their property. This duty is increased when someone is on the property for the owner's benefit, such as when performing requested services like gardening or child care.
When It Comes To Children On The Property
Property owners also have an additional duty of care when inviting minors into their property. They must ensure that all kids are appropriately watched near the pool. For instance, if you invite your neighbors to a barbecue and one of their kids inadvertently drowns in your pool, the child's parents might sue you for carelessness.
The pool owner must be shown to have breached their duty of care to visitors for a premises liability claim to succeed. The simplest definition of negligence is the failure to act in a way that a reasonable person would in a particular circumstance.
An owner might be deemed negligent if, for instance, they neglected to put up fencing around an in-ground pool, failed to adequately supervise visitors, or neglected to maintain their pool.
What About Trespassers?
Trespassers—adults on the property but are not invited visitors or conscripted service providers—are typically not owed a duty of care by the property owner and are consequently legally liable for their own injuries they sustain while on private land.
Conversely, even if kids entered the property unlawfully, pool owners still have a duty of care toward them because pools are regarded as an "attractive nuisance." Therefore, owners of private pools should take precautions to keep little trespassers away.
2. Public Or Commercial Swimming Pools
Technically, public pool owners and operators are liable for accidents on their property. Still, many will request liability releases from visitors before allowing them access to the pool.
Another widespread practice is for owners of public pools to put up signs stating that anyone using the pool waives liability, doing away even with the need for customers to sign a paper waiver.
It is debatable whether or not these waivers are enforceable in court. Generally speaking, visitors cannot release a pool owner from responsibility for mishaps caused by extreme carelessness or negligence on their side. For instance, even if you signed a waiver, you still have grounds to file a lawsuit if the pool owner pushed you into the water.
In this aspect, using language like "users renounce all liability" in waivers is deceptive. In some cases, pool visitors may still be able to successfully bring a lawsuit even after signing a release.
If you're unsure where the liability lies, consult a California personal injury lawyer before taking action. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney knows what to look for in a case and can identify its viability to become a successful lawsuit. Likewise, if you lost a loved one in a public pool accident, you should consult a California wrongful death lawyer first to see your options.
3. Government-Owned Swimming Pools
Usually, government pools are governed by the same premises liability laws. However, a private individual cannot directly bring a traditional civil lawsuit against the government. Instead, you must adhere to the procedures outlined under the California Tort Claims Act concerning cases brought against public institutions.
This process differs significantly from bringing a traditional lawsuit because it has more limitations and a shorter deadline. Once more, it is vital to seek legal advice before filing any legal action.
Find A California Swimming Pool Accident Attorneys Near Me
1000Attorneys is a State Bar Certified lawyer referral service in California. We offer free case reviews to ensure clients are linked up with a Los Angeles Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer best fit to handle their unique claim.