In most cases, property owners are liable for an accident in a swimming pool. This is the case whether the accident occurred at a private residence, public pool, or private club. However, this does not suggest that all accidents are the fault of property owners. Whether the property owner was liable depends on the circumstances of your accident, how well the pool was maintained, and why you were on the property.
But your poolside accident could very well allow you to collect damages due to Georgia’s premises liability laws. Premises liability is complex, and something we could help walk you through with a consultation. Our firm has represented Atlanta citizens in personal injury cases for over 20 years and collected thousands of dollars in that time. Call us to discuss your case with an Atlanta premises liability lawyer: 404-842-7838.
Rule Violations That Could Make a Pool Owner Liable for Your Pool Accident
Premises liability laws require property owners to ensure the safety of visitors to their property. Specifically, premises liability requires that property owners exercise “ordinary care” when guests are on their property. And that extends to public and private pools as well.
As it relates to pools, property owners must meet and maintain certain safety standards. If they fail to meet these standards and you or a loved one suffers an injury, they may be liable for those injuries.
For example, owners must ensure their fencing meets certain standards, keep the pool clean and ensure the chemical levels are correct, and ensure that the pool deck is free of hazards.
However, it is important to note that the pool owner simply failing to meet these standards does not entitle you to compensation. Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser will affect whether you might be able to recover compensation.
How Your Status at the Time of the Accident Affects Your Ability to Recover Compensation
Pool owners owe a specific duty of care to each person who visits their property. Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser determines the duty of care the pool owner owed you.
Invitees: If you were a patron of a public pool (whether you paid entrance or not), you were an invitee. A pool owner owes invitees the highest duty of care. Premises liability laws require the pool owner to maintain safety standards, remedy any hazards he finds, and to also perform regular inspections of the property to find any potential hazards. If the property owner fails to perform maintenance or property inspections and an injury results, he can be liable for any injuries that occur.
Licensees: Licensees are on private property for social reasons. So, if you were a guest at a pool party, you would be a licensee. In this case, the property owner is required to warn you about any potential hazards which are not obvious to those on the property. If the property owner failed to warn you of a hidden hazard that caused you to suffer injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
Trespassers: The only duty of care property owners owe trespassers is to refrain from purposefully causing the trespasser injury (e.g., owners cannot set traps for trespassers). This means trespassers typically cannot sue for injury. However, in some cases, property owners must warn known trespassers of hidden hazards. For example, if a pool owner knows his neighbors regularly break into his backyard to use his pool, he must warn trespassers about the broken diving board.
Trespassing rules often do not apply to children as pools are well-known attractive nuisances.
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is a manmade condition on an owner’s property which is attractive to children. This includes things like pools, trampolines, abandoned vehicles, and discarded appliances (e.g., washers, refrigerators). Georgia’s Supreme Court established the state’s attractive nuisance laws in Gregory v Johnson.
Attractive nuisance laws hold that young children are unable to comprehend the risks involved in trespassing upon property. Property owners must prevent access to these nuisances to help protect children from injury. To protect children from pool accident injuries, pool owners must install fences that meet the following criteria:
- The fence must be four feet tall or higher.
- The openings in the fence cannot be any larger than four inches.
- The gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
- The latch must be 54 inches off the ground.
If a child is able to enter a pool and suffers injury, the property owner would likely be liable.
Recovering Compensation When You Are Partially At-Fault for a Pool Accident
Liability for swimming pool accidents is not always cut-and-dried. If you were partially at-fault for an accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. However, you must have been 49 percent or less responsible, and any percentage of fault will decrease your compensation.
For example, say an investigation found you 30 percent at-fault for your injuries. You would be able to recover 70 percent of your demand. If you requested $20,000, you would be entitled to $14,000.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You with Your Pool Accident Claim. Call Us Today.
Premises liability is a complicated area of law. It can seem almost impossible to understand if you are recovering from injuries, taking care of an injured child, or mourning a loved one who drowned. S. Burke Law has an intimate understanding of Georgia premises liability laws and can represent your case. We will stand against insurers and fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
Give us a call today to see how we can help you: 404-842-7838.