Pool Accidents, Personal Injury, and Premises Liability
Who’s Liable for Injuries From Pool Accidents?
It is expected for a public pool owner to follow the appropriate state regulations in order to make sure that the individuals swimming in their pool are safe. If an individual gets injured, then the owner may potentially be held liable. However, they are not automatically held liable for the incident.
Generally, in a premises liability case, there are three types of entrants on the property. These are:
- Trespassers are not authorized to enter a certain property, but proceed to do so anyway. A pool owner does not owe them any duty of care unless the trespasser happens to be a child.
- Invitees are individuals who are able to utilize the pool either for a fee or free of charge. It is the responsibility of the pool owner to ensure the safety of these visitors when they are utilizing their services.
- Licensees are identified as social guests who are utilizing the pool on private property. Pool owners are required to give warnings to the licensees about anything dangerous that may not be obvious to them.
Liability for Trespassing Children
Pools fall under the attractive nuisance doctrine. This means that a child may have a high interest in checking out the pool, thus resulting in them trespassing in order to do so. Due to this reason, it is important for a pool owner to make sure that they establish barriers to prevent children from accessing the pool. This may include having fences or locked gates to make it impossible for a child to enter.
If an individual, regardless if they are a licensee or invitee, happens to slip around the pool or get injured while diving into the pool, liability does not fall on the owner. However, in some circumstances, it may not be obvious that a pool is shallow or that it has hidden objects in it.
For this reason, the pool owner needs to provide warning signs for visitors to keep an eye out for any safety issues. Additionally, there should be safety equipment and a proper amount of lifeguards surrounding the pool in case an individual needs immediate assistance. Failure to do so will lead to an injury resulting in a premises liability case against the pool owner.
Premises liability is not applicable if the individual was exhibiting negligent behavior near or in the pool. Examples could include:
- Individual jumping on another individual when making a dive into the pool.
- Individual shoving another individual’s head under water.
- Individual mocking warning signs and proceeding to commit the prohibited acts anyway.
- Individuals using pool equipment to inflict harm on others.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.
It’s important to understand that punitive damages will not be made available in the event of a contract breach. In the event of a contract breach, there must be evidence which proves that a breach was intentional or deliberate.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Limitations for Damages in California
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.
However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses is $250,000.
Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a premises liability accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.