Los Angeles is known for its sunny summers and cool swimming pools. Swimming pools are loved by people of LA and they are found everywhere, however, if proper care is not taken they can become a source of disastrous injury.
Pool owners who do not follow the mandated safety precautions and rules may end up putting their guests and visitors in danger. Injuries caused due to unsafe conditions in swimming pools can force the victims to file a civil lawsuit against the liable parties.
If an individual sustains an injury while using the pool on someone else’s property, they should get in touch with a swimming pool accident lawyer in Los Angeles. They will be able to offer you the right guidance and valuable insight regarding your case and claim.
What is the California Swimming Pool Safety Act?
According to the California Health and Safety Code Article 2.5 popularly known as the Swimming Pool Safety Act, all single-family homeowners having swimming pools or spas on their properties are required to implement at least two of the below mentioned seven drowning prevention safety features:
- The swimming pool should be enclosed by either a fence, wall, or another barrier with only access to the home.
- The swimming pool should be fenced using an approved removable mesh fence which includes a self-closing and self-latching lockable gate.
- The swimming pool has an approved safety pool cover.
- Installing alarms on doors providing direct access to the swimming pool.
- Installation of a self-closing and self-latching device placed at least 54 inches above the floor on any door in the house having access to the swimming pool.
- Installing an alarm that sounds upon entering into the water of a swimming pool.
- Other protection measures, providing they protect as much or more than any of the above-mentioned measures.
The Swimming Pool Safety Act is applicable only to single-family homes and not for public swimming pools, apartment complexes, or other types of residential settings.
A Los Angeles swimming pool accident lawyer can help you understand the law related to personal injury caused in a swimming pool accident and what steps you need to take to file a lawsuit or claim for compensation.
What are the different types of swimming pool accidents?
There are several scenarios that can lead to a Los Angeles swimming pool accident. Some of the most common types of swimming pool accidents are:
- Inadequate Fencing
Any swimming pool whether private or public is required to follow local Los Angeles laws regarding fencing. Pool owners have to install a privacy fence up to a certain height with a locking gate. The law states swimming pools to be “an attractive nuisance,” as children are known to get attracted to swimming pools.
They don’t understand the dangers associated with unsupervised swimming. For kids, swimming is only fun. Failing to adequately fence the pool or lock a gate could be used as a ground for a liability claim under California law. Slip and fall accidents on the pool deck which is normally wet from the water splashes are common around the swimming pools.
- Chemical burns
To sanitize the pool, pool owners and operators use a combination of chemicals to maintain a safe pH level of the water. These chemicals should be stored safely between uses.
Carelessness in handling and storing these chemicals can cause serious chemical burns to children or adults. Liability in such accidents lies with the owners of the property, Maintenance Company or the government if the injury is sustained in a public pool.
- Negligent supervision
All public swimming pools and some private pools are required to have a lifeguard on duty. The lifeguards are responsible for enforcing the pool’s rules.
If they fail to notice a danger or risk at the pool or help an individual in distress, it could lead to a claim based on negligent supervision.
Who is responsible for swimming pool accidents or swimming pool drowning cases?
The first factor to determine who is responsible for swimming pool accidents is who owns and operates the pool.
- Privately Owned Swimming Pools
If it is a privately owned swimming pool then the pool owner can be held liable for any injuries sustained in their pool under the limitations of premises liability.
Property owners have a “duty of care” with regards to visitors on their property, in simple words, they are legally responsible to ensure the safety of their guests and take safety precautions for preventing any kind of accidents and injuries.
Adults who are trespassing the property are generally not owed a duty of care by the property owner. In such instances, the trespassers are themselves legally responsible for any injuries sustained on private property. Since pools are considered an “attractive nuisance,” the private swimming pool owners owe a duty of care to minors even if they are trespassing. They are expected to take steps to prevent any access to minor trespassers.
- Publicly Owned Swimming Pools
Public pool operators are also subject to premises liability as private pool owners. However, several public pool operators ask their guests to sign a liability waiver while granting them access to the pool.
Public pool owners also post signs specifying that pool users waive liability while using the pool. In such instances, the public swimming pool operator cannot be held responsible for any accident or injury. A well-qualified Los Angeles swimming pool accident lawyer knows how to handle such cases against public pool operators, they can help you receive your rightful compensation for the injuries sustained.
Government swimming pool
Government-owned swimming pools are the pools operated through the municipal Parks & Recreation Department. Although these pools are also subject to premises liability, a private citizen cannot directly file a civil lawsuit against the government.
To file a lawsuit and claim for compensation from the government one needs to follow the protocols mentioned under the California Tort Claims Act specifically for claims filed against government entities. The procedure is very different from filing a regular civil lawsuit.
You need to follow a stricter timeline and there are certain restrictions. It is advisable to consult with an experienced swimming pool accident lawyer in Los Angeles before pursuing any legal claim against the Government.
How to prove liability in swimming pool accident cases?
Proving liability in a swimming pool injury accident case is not simple, you need to prove negligence or premises liability against the owner or operator, whether private or public. The California Swimming Pool Safety Act requires the owners to follow safety codes and regulations.
In cases of Government pools, one needs to adhere to governmental torts claim rules, which are complex and the deadlines are short.
It is therefore advisable to consult an experienced Los Angeles swimming pool accident law firm if you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a swimming pool accident, as they are aware of the laws and the regulations which need to be followed.