If surveyed, many people would probably tell you they would not mind owning a swimming pool. They can probably envision the many hours, they would spend in it with family and friends. What they may not realize is a swimming pool can be an attractive nuisance, which can open them up to serious liability. If you own a pool, or are considering installing one, you need to understand what this means, and how to protect yourself from being sued.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
There are certain things that can quickly catch a young child's eye that are both beautiful and dangerous. These things are irresistibly inviting, and often seems to lure the children away from where they should be. Because they are so focused on the object, structure, or condition, they do not comprehend how dangerous the situation can be.
By law, these objects are classified as attractive nuisances. If the property owners do not provide proper protection attractive nuisances can present a significant liability to the property owner. A swimming pool is definitely on this list, along with many other items.
Unfortunately, for the owner of the property, they can be held liable for any accidents which occur, even if they did not know the child was present, but certain criteria must be met.
What Does it Take to Meet the Attractive Nuisance Criteria?
For the property owner to be held liable, the following criteria must be met.
- They must know (or should have known) it is likely children will trespass on their property.
- There is an item or condition on the property which has the potential to cause death or serious harm to a child.
- The child, or children, involved are too young, or do not have the mental capacity to appreciate the risk the item presents.
- The cost of maintaining, or remedying, the condition is minimal compared to the risk.
- The property owner does not take reasonable measures to prevent the danger.
How Do You Protect Yourself from Attractive Nuisances Lawsuits?
Accidental drownings were the leading cause of accidental deaths for children under the age of 5, in California, Florida, and Arizona. Many of these could have easily been prevented with a little extra effort on the pool owners' part. By taking preventative measures, not only will you help to ensure the safety for anyone who is around your pool, this will also help to ensure your pool is not considered an attractive nuisance.
- Safety can often be achieved by simply installing a non-climbable fence around the pool. Many states have laws, building codes, and regulations that will govern how high, as well as what type of fence you have to install.
- Keep all gates and doors leading to the pool locked when they are not in use. Use an alarm on both. This will notify you when one of these are opened.
- Place a pool alarm in your pool. These will shriek when the surface of the water is broken, or will signal you when someone enters your pool area.
- Install a pool safety cover for use during the winter. This will keep children, as well as animals from falling in your pool when it is not in use.
No one wants to be involved in any type of drowning, or even near drowning accident. It is even harder to be involved when you could have taken steps to prevent it. Hopefully, you will never be in this situation, but if you are, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will be able to review your specific case and help to reduce your liability.