As the weather continues heating up, more and more Maryland residents are flocking to their local pools and lakes to cool off. Although swimming can be a great way to relax on a hot summer day, it is important to appreciate the risks associated with this activity.
The risk of swimming accidents and drowning is especially high for children, particularly if improperly supervised or if the pool or lake is not outfitted with appropriate safety equipment. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19, with more than 1,000 children drowning each year.
Swimming pool owners owe certain duties to guests of their property, an obligation referred to in legal terms as premises liability. As this blog has discussed before, is a theory of law that imposes a legal duty upon owners of certain premises to maintain that property in reasonably safe condition.
The extent of the duty owed will depend on the type of relationship between the owner and the injured party, specifically, whether the person was a: (1) invitee (individual who enters a property for business purposes); (2) licensee (individual who enters a property for social purposes); or (3) trespasser (individual without permission to enter onto a property).
With regard to pools and lakes operated by businesses for profit, swimmers are considered invitees and the owner of the property therefore owes them a duty to ensure that its premises are free of dangerous conditions that the owner knew or should have know about.
Further, pool and lake owners also owe invitees a duty to regularly inspect their premises in order to discover potentially dangerous conditions, and can be found liable for injuries caused by hazards of which they did not have actual knowledge but should have known about.
Common hazards associated with pools and lakes are:
● Lack of supervision of guests.
● Risky behavior by guests allowed or encouraged by property owner.
● Poor pool maintenance resulting in hazardous conditions such as slippery surfaces.
● Improper or insufficient training of safety personnel and/or lifeguards.
Any of these hazards, and many others not identified above, can result in serious injury, and in extreme cases, death. In the event that the pool or lake owner knew, or should have known, about such a dangerous condition and did nothing to remedy it, a person hurt or killed by such a hazard may be entitled to compensation.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition of a pool or lake, it is important that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine the merit and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any favorable evidence.
The qualified attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC have extensive experience representing individuals that have been injured as a result of the negligence of pool and lake owners. If you or someone you know has been injured in a swimming accident, contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today.