Who is Responsible
When a Swimming Pool Tragedy Occurs?
A Guttlaw ReportTM
Swimming pools are great fun, a relief from the summer's heat, and a source of good exercise. But they can also be an invitation to disaster, serious personal injury and even death. When misfortune strikes, who is responsible?
First of all, the owner or operator of a pool, whether it is a municipality, a YMCA, or a private party, is going to be responsible for negligent maintenance of hidden hazards. So, for example, if the operator of a swimming pool allows electric wiring to come in contact with the water, or if there is exposed electric wiring in the pool which causes injury, the operator of the pool will be legally responsible. Likewise, missing drain covers or other uncovered openings may result in operator liability.
A missing lifeguard or one who does their job negligently may make the pool owner liable because, having undertaken to have a lifeguard, the pool operator must ensure that the lifeguard exercises due care and does their job appropriately. On the other hand a pool owner is not obligated to have a lifeguard and where the swimmer is swimming at his or her own risk, the pool operator will not be held liable.
No matter what, common sense prevails. If someone gets drunk and falls in the pool, the owner will not likely be responsible unless THE OWNER PROVIDED THE ALCOHOL. Trespassers are generally held responsible for their own injuries in Ohio, unless there is some hidden hazard of which they could not reasonably be aware.
Mismarked pool depth, or an underfilled pool which causes injury may result in liability for the owner of the pool.
In short, pools are great fun, but like many recreational activities they can also be very dangerous. They require due care on the part of both the swimmer and the owner/operator. Particular vigilance is obviously required for the parents and babysitters of young children.
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Rubin Guttman & Associates, L.P.A. has been representing injured people involved in serious accidents for 32 years and would be glad to meet with you. For a free consultation and review of your case, please feel free to call us at 216 696-4006.