When it comes to swimming pools, all property owners have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to ensure that their pool is safe for all users. Premises liability applies to:
- Private and residential swimming pools owners.
- Property owners with private or commercial pools made available for guests. members, or tenants (campgrounds, motels, apartment complexes, health clubs, etc.).
- Property possessors or operators.
- Government property owners of public municipal swimming pools or school swimming pools.
Premises liability is usually focused on a property owner’s lack of adequate pool maintenance or supervision. Examples include the following:
Warning Signs. Property owners may be liable for a swimming pool drowning if they didn’t post appropriate warning signs. In the absence of a lifeguard, signs indicating the depth of water or “swim at your own risk” must be visible to all pool users. Hidden or illegible signs are inadequate and mean an owner can still be liable.
Inadequate Fencing. Statistics show that pools without fencing are 60% more likely to involve a drowning than fenced in pools. If it can be proven that a reasonably careful property owner would have installed proper fencing and gates, any owner who fails to do so may be found liable.
Improper Maintenance. A property owner who fails to maintain a pool or any necessary safety equipment in good condition can be found liable. Swimming pools that are only half filled, for example, may cause liability issues if a swimmer hits their head at the bottom and is injured or dies.
Negligence. If improperly installed pool equipment results in a drowning, that might be an example of negligence on behalf of the installers. Another example is when an employer hires an unqualified lifeguard and the lifeguard’s negligent supervision directly leads to a drowning.