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Swimming Pool Gates and Liability in California

pool safty gatesSwimming pools can be very dangerous, especially if there are little children around or someone doesn’t know to swim. If someone was recently injured because of, or involving, a swimming pool, you may be wondering about swimming pool gates and other forms of liability. Plus, you want to know whether or not there is a valid case. After all, if the injury wasn’t the fault of the injured party, why should they have to pay for it?

Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve.

Swimming Pool Gates and Liability Information

In order to keep people safe around pools, California has a law called the Pool Safety Act, which outline ways in which you need to safeguard your pool to prevent accidents and injuries from happening. Keep in mind that your county could have additional regulations for pools and pool gates.

As mandated by the state of California, there are seven drowning prevention safety features on the books, and you need to uphold at least two of them.

For example, one of the things required by law is to install a pool gate/fence. The pool fence needs to be at least 5 feet tall and have gaps between the slats of 4” (or less). It must also have gaps of 2” or less under the fence. The fence can be attached to the house or some other structure, or three-sided if necessary. You can use mesh safety fences.

A second option is to have exit alarms on your private single-family home’s doors that lead to the swimming pool. A third option is to have an approved safety pool cover. You can learn all about the seven laws on the California Legislative Information website.

If you’re going to sell your home in California and you don’t have a pool safety fence or other safety features, the buyers can request it so that they are in compliance with the law. If you do not comply with the Pool Safety Act, as well as any local laws, you could be liable if somebody gets injured. You need to be especially careful if you have children around your pool.

And if you were the one who got injured – or it involved a loved one – whether it happened at a private or a public pool – we may be able to successfully bring forth a premises claim lawsuit against the responsible party.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that describes how property owners could be responsible for injuries that occur to people on their property. For instance, if someone gets injured at a store, the storeowner may be held responsible depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. And if someone gets injured on private property, such as someone’s home, then the homeowner could have to compensate the injured party.

When taking legal action against a property owner, the injured party would make a claim against the property owner’s insurance carrier. For example, if they slipped and fell in a pool at a public pool because there was debris on the ground, then they may be able to initiate a case against the pool’s business insurance carrier. If the injury happened on someone’s private property, then the homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance carrier might cover the damages.

Keep in mind that not all injuries are going to be an owner’s fault. For instance, if there were signs up that showed the pool rules and you blatantly disregarded them – and then suffered from an injury – it could be your fault. Even then, it’s worth it to talk to a premises liability lawyer in California to determine fault.

Problems That Swimming Pools Cause

Swimming pools can be extremely hazardous — they could suffer brain damage or even die.

Slips and falls are common around pools, since it’s easy to slip – especially if someone is running. This could lead to broken bones, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or paralysis.

Aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when someone inhales water into their lungs, as well as hypothermia, may come about as a result of falling into a pool.

If there are large pool toys, they can entrap someone, especially a child. Electrocution and diving board injuries could also occur. If a pool is overcrowded, someone may get stuck under the water and have trouble breathing. The suction force of the drain could result in injuries as well, especially in hot tubs. 

What Damages Could You Receive in a Pool Injury Case?

If there is some liability for your pool-related injury, then you may be able to receive compensation in the form of damages.

The most obvious damages include compensation for medical bills, including ambulance, hospitalization, doctors’ appointments, surgeries, prescription medicine, and further treatment.  Damages also include time lost from work and loss of wages (past and future). If your injury is so serious that you’ll have to stop working, one could also claim reduced earning capacity for a lifetime!

If you cannot partake in things and activities you used to love, then other relevant damages would include loss of enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering will be applicable, too.

What to Do After You Get Injured at the Pool

Photographs, videos and witnesses can be extremely important.  Make sure a record is made of them and get information about what happened. Locations of any cameras that could have recorded the accident should be noted, and requests made for the footage; and collect the insurance and contact information for the property owner.  If you can’t do this, get others to do it, or get help from a lawyer as soon as you can.

Call an ambulance or go to the hospital right away to be thoroughly evaluated for injuries. Make sure you get the treatment you need to feel better. Don’t neglect to go to doctors’ appointments.  Failure to do so could be held against you in your case. 

Staying Safe Around the Pool

Whenever you’re going to a pool, make sure you check and see if the pool owner has installed safety features. This is especially important if you’re going with your children. Make sure that if your children can’t swim or are just learning how to swim, you accompany them at all times and put floaties on them as an additional safety measure. Don’t go to a public pool at a time when the lifeguard is off duty, either. And make sure your kids don’t run around the pool. This may prevent them from slipping and falling.

Get in Touch With Heiting & Irwin for Help

If you, a loved one, or your child got injured at a public or private pool, then it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer to represent and advise you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online at HILegalGroup.com or call us at 951-682-6400 to initiate your case now.

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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