accident in a swimming pool

Having a swimming pool in your backyard provides a wonderful source of enjoyment for the summer months. Homeowners with pools, though, also have certain responsibilities. You need to ensure that your pool is reasonably safe for those using it. If there is an accident in a swimming pool and someone gets hurt on your property, you might be held liable for their injuries, depending on the circumstances.

When is a Homeowner Liable for an Accident in Swimming Pool?

If, unfortunately, there’s an accident in your swimming pool, whether you may be held liable will depend on several things:

1. Is the injured person a guest or a trespasser?

If you invite guests to use your pool, you must warn them of any hazards that wouldn’t be obvious to an average person. If you fail to do so, you may be held liable if they are injured because of those hazards.

But what if someone was not invited? What if they snuck in and then got hurt? If someone trespasses on your property and gets injured in or around your pool, you usually would not be liable for their injuries. However, an important exception is if the injured trespasser is a child. 

2. Was the person injured because they engaged in risky behavior with known hazards?

If a guest dives into your pool in the shallow end (when it’s obvious the water is shallow) or is horsing around on the deck and slips and falls, they may be held responsible for causing their own injuries. In that case, you wouldn’t be liable. 

3. Did you negligently or intentionally hurt them?

You could be personally liable for incidents at your pool that have nothing to do with the safety of the pool itself – for example, if you got into a physical fight with a guest.

4. Do you have a fence around your pool?

The law in Maine requires you to build a fence around your pool that will keep children out unless your pool is portable, above-ground, and has sides at least two feet high. The fence should meet the specifications given in the Maine Statutes. You are also responsible for following local or city swimming pool regulations. Failure to do so could result in a fine and liability if a child is injured.

How to Keep Your Pool Safe

In addition to having a fence that’s up to code around your pool, other ways to keep your pool safe include the following:

  • Always watching children who are in or near your pool. Never leave the pool unattended when children are there, not even for a few minutes. 
  • Covering the pool when it’s not being used.
  • Keeping pool chemicals in a safe place out of the reach of children.
  • Keeping lifesaving equipment and first-aid supplies in the pool area.
  • Having everyone leave the pool and the pool area if there’s a thunderstorm.
  • Learning CPR in case of an emergency. 

The personal injury lawyers at Garmey Law wish everyone a safe and happy summer. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents do happen. When they do, our legal team is dedicated to pursuing justice for injured people. If you ever need our help, call us at (207) 481-4350, or contact us through our website for a free consultation.