Swimming pool drownings are the most common cause of death for children under the age of 14 in California; according to the CDC, drownings in general rank as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury or death in America. While property owners cannot be held responsible for all accidental drownings, in many instances, premises liability applies. Pool owners must take steps to ensure the safety of anybody on the property. This applies to private owners of residential pools as well as at commercial pools open to tenants or guests, municipal pools, and property operators or renters. When a lack of reasonable safety precautions leads to drowning or other pool-related injury, legal action is an appropriate step.
Property owners may be held liable for drownings when basic safety features are absent, including signs, fences, and safety devices. It is the responsibility of private property owners to prioritize the protection of every individual who legally enters the property. For pool owners, this demands diligent observance of water safety protocol as it applies to any and all guests. If, for example, a guest’s child escapes supervision, falls into the pool and drowns, it is the pool owner rather than the child’s parent or guardian who is likely to be held liable.
Commercial and public pools are uniquely dangerous environments because they foster unpredictable interactions between multiple parties in an inherently risky environment. Ultimately, property owners and operators assume accountability for careless behavior of occupants when a drowning or any injury occurs. At commercial pools, a lack of lifeguards or careless or negligent lifeguards on duty is generally considered negligent supervision. Additionally, there are endless factors that can jeopardize the safety of participants – such as uneven surfaces that leave occupants vulnerable to slipping or falling, inadequate or inaccessible lifesaving devices, failure to indicate water depth or clearly mark hazards, conditions limiting visibility, improper maintenance of pool components and the surrounding premises, and many, many more.
There are risks inherent to swimming and participating in any water-related activities. However, these risks are emphasized and exacerbated by unsafe conditions or negligence on behalf of property owners and operators. If inadequate safety precautions or disregard for the safety of pool users led to the drowning of someone in your life, legal options are available. For skilled, experienced representation, contact the Law Office of Joseph M. Kar P.C. at 818-501-6930.