Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Swimming pool accidents and homeowner liability

Each year, nearly 2,600 children are brought to hospital emergency rooms for swimming pool accidents. Approximately ten people (children and adults) die each day from drowning. Two of these are children under 15 years of age. Drowning, in fact, is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 15 years.

While 65 percent of adult drowning happens in "natural water settings" (such as lakes), the majority of Pennsylvania drowning accidents involving young children happen in residential swimming pools. Many of these deaths, if not most of them, are preventable, caused by failure to supervise children, failure to erect fences around pools, improper warnings and other negligence.

Who is responsible for pool accidents?

When someone dies or is injured in a swimming pool accident, the property owner may be held liable for negligence. In fact, even trespassers may be able to hold the property owner responsible for an injury they sustained in a pool.

Depending on how the accident occurred, the manufacturer of the pool may also be responsible. For example, if there were defective pumps or drains, liability falls on the manufacturer of the pool and/or the manufacturer of the defective products.

Preventing swimming pool accidents

Property owners should take steps to prevent swimming pool accidents, such as:

  • Do not allow anyone to enter your pool unless a responsible and experienced swimmer is supervising the pool.
  • Erect fences around your pool - on all four sides, and use locks to keep out trespassers.
  • Make sure that life-saving equipment is near the pool, but do not rely solely on life-saving equipment or warning signs.
  • Do not leave toys in your pool or anything else that could further entice children to trespass / enter the pool.
  • Keep intoxicated guests out of your pool.
  • Purchase homeowner's insurance that covers swimming pool injuries, and consider adding swimming pool accident liability coverage.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "Swimming Pools - Safety Is No Accident," 2012.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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