Who is at Fault in a Public Swimming Pool Injury?
When someone runs a public pool (or even a private pool, for that matter), they accept the possibility that they can be held liable if a visitor or swimmer is injured in or around the pool. This does not mean, however, that the owner is automatically liable. If you have been injured in or around a public swimming pool, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to determine whether you have grounds to file a claim for compensation.
Swimming pool injuries and Michigan premises liability rules
A pool is usually considered part of the property it’s on under the law, and therefore premises liability rules will most likely be applicable in a pool injury lawsuit. Premises liability is a term for the laws that are used to determine who is liable (or if anyone is) when a particular use or condition of a property, building, or other form of premises causes someone injury.
Specific premises liability rules govern Michigan. First, there are different degrees of duty required by owners that depend on the status of the victim of the injury. A successful premises liability claim hinges on whether the plaintiff was legally on the land where they were injured (in this case, in or around the swimming pool).
The plaintiff must be able to show that the accident occurred on premises that were open for a commercial purpose. If this is true, then the plaintiff can be considered an invitee onto the property, to which owners owe the highest duty of care. People who are patrons of public pools, whether these pools are free of charge to enter or cost money to enter, are considered invitees.
The owner of the property must maintain their premises in a safe condition and must take measures to protect their invitees from potentially harmful situations that are known to them. The property owner also must warn invitees of any dangers that they may be aware of unless those dangers are open to the public eye and very obvious. Routine examinations of the property must be conducted to discover any open or obvious dangers.
Child trespassers and liability
In most cases, the owner of a pool does not owe someone trespassing on their property a duty of care, aside from if they try to cause intentional harm to the trespasser. However, if the trespasser is a child, there is an exception to this law. The attractive nuisance doctrine means that pool owners do have a responsibility to keep the pool safe from children who do not understand the dangers of drowning.
This means that they have an obligation to take measures like preventing access to the pool with a gate. If these actions are not taken and a child drowns in the pool, the owners can still be held liable.
Typical grounds for liability in public pool injuries
Certain risks at public pools, like slippery surfaces on decks and diving in areas that are too shallow, are obvious enough that they will not create liability for the pool owner if someone hurts themselves because of them.
However, if it is not obvious that part of a pool is too shallow for diving, or if the owner of a pool does not provide emergency safety equipment or does not keep diving boards, drains, and ladders in functional condition, they can be held accountable for injuries that happen due to these risks.
If you or someone you know has been injured in or around a public swimming pool, and the injury could have been prevented had the owner upheld a higher duty of care, call Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. at 1-866-MICH LAW (1-866-642-4529) to book a free consultation today. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.