Liability for Swimming Pool Owners
With the summer heat in full swing, taking a dip in your pool is a great way to stay cool. Without a doubt, having a pool in your home can be a desirable amenity. However, pools can also pose the risk of injuries. That is why it is important for homeowners to consider the safety of the friends and family that are invited over to enjoy the pool.
Safety is the number one priority for people and organizations who oversee public pools. Public pools always have lifeguards, clear safety signage, and rescue devices on hand so that pool attendees can have a fun time while staying safe. If you have a pool on your property, should your obligations to the safety of others be any different than the people who oversee the use of a public pool?
If you are a pool owner, it is important to consider your duties and responsibilities to anyone who uses your pool.
The Occupiers Liability Act
The Occupiers Liability Act governs how owners or occupiers maintain their premises. The Act states that an owner or occupier must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition in consideration of anyone who might enter the premises. This relates to the condition, activities, and conduct of third parties on the premises.
Essentially, you are responsible for maintaining a safe home and property so that others do not get injured or harmed while visiting. This responsibility extends to your swimming pool as well. Failing to do so could result in a civil suit against you in the case someone sustains an injury on your property due to your negligence.
Maintaining a reasonably safe swimming pool area can include posting pool rules at your home, verbally telling guests about the pool rules, and ensuring any slides or diving boards are safely installed at the deep end of your pool. It is important to ensure that your guests know how to safely enjoy your pool, particularly children who may not understand the full extent of the dangers associated with a swimming pool.
To learn more about occupiers’ liability, click here.
Slips and Falls
The grounds and floors around swimming pools regularly get wet and slippery. The area surrounding a swimming pool can be hazardous. Both adults and children often splash around in the pool and spill water as they climb in and out of it.
Your guests expect you to do all you can to create a safe environment. If a guest sustains an injury due to a slip and fall accident on your pool deck, the injured party would have to establish that you were negligent in some way. Perhaps you failed to fix any maintenance hazards around the pool or created a dangerous environment through other negligent actions.
To avoid being held liable for an injury-causing slip and fall accident around your pool, it is important to have textured flooring instead of tiles to ensure it is as non-slippery as possible. It is also important to warn guests that the deck is likely to be slippery so they can be cautious when navigating around the pool deck. Additionally, it is best practice to make the pool area a designated “no running” zone.
Protection Through Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Homeowners should have personal liability coverage through their insurance plan to protect against any loss suffered on their property. However, the coverage might not be enough if a swimming pool is on the property. Pools are considered to be higher risk and could increase a homeowner’s monthly premiums. Additionally, the coverage limits might not be high enough to address the risk exposure of having a pool.
As a pool owner, it is important to obtain the proper personal liability coverage for your home, so that you are not stuck paying out of pocket if a lawsuit arises. That is why pool owners are often encouraged to purchase additional swimming pool liability insurance. This specific insurance can protect a pool owner against any litigation should they get sued because of third-party injury sustained at their pool.
Better to be Safe than Sorry
In addition to posting pool rules, it is good to take extra precautions to avoid any pool-related accidents. These might include:
- Making life jackets available for those who are not particularly strong swimmers
- Storing a life ring on deck for emergency purposes
- Always supervising children in and around the pool
- Forbidding any risky behaviour, like running or aggressive play, in and around the pool.
- Never swimming alone to help prevent injury and drowning
- Avoiding alcohol consumption and forbidding guests from swimming if they are intoxicated
- Keeping the pool area free of obstacles, such as personal items and pool toys, that could cause a trip and fall
- Keeping a first aid kit and a telephone nearby in case of emergencies
- And possibly more
If you were involved in a swimming pool incident, contact us today. Our British Columbia slip and fall accident lawyers may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve after being injured on someone else’s property. Call today for your free consultation!
This article was written by Mia Zanic.