The Harding Law Firm News

Diving Into the Legal Rights of Pool Owners

Harding Law Firm - Monday, August 18, 2014
The splashing, the diving, the cannon balls are all part of the joys of a backyard swimming pool. But before you call a contractor or get a do-it-yourself kit, it’s vital you’re aware of your responsibilities. A swimming pool in your yard may seem like the perfect summer past-time, but it represents one of the biggest legal and financial risks associated with your home. The risks of accidental drowning are very real, and your legal liabilities are clear. 
Here is what you need to know about the legalities of owning a swimming pool: 

1)    If you are the owner of the pool, you are the person who has the responsibility for the safety of your family, your guests and even people you haven’t invited onto your property. If you don’t take reasonable measures to ensure your pool is secure, you open yourself to the possibility of a liability lawsuit in the event of an injury or a drowning death. 

2)    Most insurance policies and many town ordinances require that private pools be fenced with barriers that are at least 4-feet high and completely surround the pool. The gates in the fence should be self-closing and securely latched, and the latches should not be accessible to children. 

3)    Invest in a pool cover to use whenever the pool is not in use. You can also purchase a pool alarm you can set to sound if the water is disturbed. 

4)    You or another adult you trust should personally supervise pool use, and you should insist that adult guests be present whenever their children use the pool. You and other adult members of your household should be trained in CPR, so that you have the necessary emergency skills in case of an accident 

5)    Make sure you have lifesaving equipment within easy reach of the pool. 

6)    Your homeowner’s insurance must cover the fact that you have a private pool. Make sure you have a minimum of $1 million in accident coverage associated with the pool in your policy and possibly even more. Even if you post warning signs near your pool, or advise guests that they swim at their own risk, you still remain legally liable for their safety, and your insurance cover should reflect this. 

Be aware of your responsibilities, stay alert and control the number of bathers in your pool, and your summer will go along swimmingly. Enjoy your pool!