The summer season is fast approaching and, with it, the opening of backyard swimming pools for summer fun. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people in the United States suffer serious and fatal injuries from swimming pool-related accidents, including drowning and poolside slip-and-fall incidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4 years old and the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for those of all ages.
Pool and spa owners have an expansive degree of care to anyone who is allowed to enter the pool premises for social reasons. A property owner is required to maintain the swimming pool or spa in compliance with legal standards, including the guarding and upkeep of drains, as well as the maintenance of curbs and sidewalk surfaces. The owner must provide proper supervision, signage and emergency safety equipment. A pool owner also has a duty to inform social guests, or licensees, of any hazards that are not open and obvious, such as a broken ladder or diving board.
Although in most circumstances pool owners do not bear any responsibility for adult trespassers, child trespassers, or those not specifically invited to swim in the pool, are protected under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. An attractive nuisance is a property feature that is both attractive to children and potentially harmful.
In New York and other states that follow the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, both private and public pool owners must keep a pool safe from being accessed by young, unsupervised children as they do not understand the danger of drowning. According to the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, an outdoor residential swimming pool must be provided with a barrier, at least four feet high with a child-proof lock, completely surround the swimming pool, obstruct access and satisfy certain specified requirements.
If you have suffered an injury or had a loved one pass away in a swimming pool accident due to a property owner's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a New York personal injury attorney who is experienced in representing clients who have suffered injuries related to a property owner's negligence. Sakkas Cahn & Weiss, LLP handles personal injury matters, including premises liability throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Call us today at 212-571-7171.