Swimming pools are great fun, but if they aren’t supervised or maintained properly they can pose a significant danger. Californians are at particularly high risk of swimming pool drownings simply because the climate lends itself to more pools, both at private residences and in other settings. Each year thousands of people die in accidental swimming pool drowning accidents, and these incidents are largely preventable as they are often the result of negligent behavior on the part of the pool owner or manager.
If you have lost a loved one in a swimming pool accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you’ll want to contact the best swimming pool drowning law firm in Los Angeles. Hiring an experienced Orange County wrongful death lawyer means you’ll have someone who can share their expertise and advise you on how to properly pursue a wrongful death pool lawsuit.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children in the United States, according to the CDC. Swimming pool drownings can happen at a private pool at a residence, a neighborhood or city-owned pool, a hotel pool, or a water park.
- More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death.
- For children ages 5–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.
- The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 60 percent of fatal drownings in children under four take place in swimming pools.
What Obligations Do Property Owners Have Regarding Swimming Pools?
It’s the same as with any premises liability issue. A property owner is responsible for creating a safe environment for invited guests. This includes ensuring that their swimming pool is legally compliant with all safety regulations. Property owners have a “duty of care” AKA a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of guests on their property. This duty increases when someone is on the property for the benefit of the property owner, for example in the case of a maintenance worker or child care provider. Likewise, property owners owe an extra duty of care when minors are invited to their property. This is especially so when a swimming pool is on the property.
Non-invited guests or trespassers are generally not owed a duty of care by the property owner. Trespassers are legally responsible for any injuries they incur while on private property. However, pools are considered an attractive nuisance, therefore pool owners owe a duty of care to minors even if those minors have accessed the property illegally.
Pool Safety Requirements for Home Swimming Pools
The regulations regarding home swimming pools vary depending on which country, state or municipality the pool is located in. However, here are some general guidelines that may apply:
- Fencing – Most jurisdictions require a fence around a private swimming pool to prevent unauthorized access, particularly by young children. The fence needs to be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate.
- Covers – Some jurisdictions require the pool to be covered when not in use.
- Drain covers – All swimming pools should have drain covers that comply with safety standards to prevent entrapment.
- Alarms – In some cases, a pool alarm that sounds an alert when someone enters the pool area is required.
- Depth markers – Clear signage about shallow and deep water should be visible on the pool deck or tile.
- Chemicals- Proper storage and use of pool chemicals is important for safety. The containers should be stored in a locked area and the chemicals should be handled according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Permits – In some cases, permits may be required for the installation of or modification to a swimming pool.
In addition to the legal requirements, it’s crucial that pool owners implement safety measures such as:
- maintaining safe walking surfaces to avoid slip-and-fall accidents
- having adequate safety equipment nearby
- teaching children to swim
- appropriate supervision at all times; never leaving children unattended in or around the pool
Failure to comply with these safety regulations can result in a homeowner being found liable for a wrongful death pool claim if the family of the victim can prove that the property owner’s negligence caused the accident.
What Are the Responsibilities for Public Swimming Pools?
Public pool operators are subject to the same premises liability as private pool owners, though some public pool operators will require that guests sign a liability waiver as a condition of being granted access to the pool. Sometimes public pool owners even post signs stipulating that pool users waive liability, although generally, guests of a publicly owned swimming pool can’t waive a pool owner’s liability for accidents stemming from negligence. Pool guests can often still file a lawsuit despite these waivers, and if you have any questions about a wrongful death pool case or other pool liability claim, it’s wise to reach out to a swimming pool accident lawyer to ensure that you are guided by a professional who is intimately familiar with this terrain.
What Are the Responsibilities for Municipal Swimming Pools?
A private citizen cannot directly file a conventional civil lawsuit against the government but instead must follow the protocols of the Tort Claims Act specifically relating to claims filed against government entities. If you have a potential wrongful death pool lawsuit, consult with an Orange County wrongful death lawyer to learn your rights and the best course of action forward.
What Is the Compensation for Swimming Pool Drownings?
In pool accidents in which the victim’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, the suit may claim compensation for:
- funeral and burial expenses
- income that the deceased would have earned, had they not passed away
- loss of support and companionship
Speak to the Best Wrongful Death Attorneys – Los Angeles and Orange County
If you are exploring a wrongful death pool lawsuit, it is important to seek professional help from an Orange County wrongful death lawyer with deep expertise in such cases. We are widely recognized as the best wrongful death law firm in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, winning settlements of up to $10 million. John J. Perlstein can shepard you through a wrongful death claim with great sensitivity, care and skill. To arrange a free consultation about a potential wrongful death claim, call us at (213) 252-1070. We will fight relentlessly to get you maximum financial compensation.