Child Trespassers in Swimming Pool Accident
Although an unfortunate fact, according to the CDC as many as 5,000 children are involved in swimming pool accidents each year. Additionally, these accidents occur very suddenly and unexpectedly. Unlike what is presented on TV or in movies, a child is not likely to splash about or cry for help. A drowning can be quick and silent, as most young children attempt to resurface once they are already too deep in the water. Such a tragic accident presents an unusual legal situation, meaning that a number of factors determine liability in situations where a child trespasser sustains injuries on another’s property.
What Is Expected of Homeowners
In the state of California, property owners can be held liable if they fail to demonstrate reasonable precaution to ensure a safe environment where the accident occurred. For example, failing to install a safety feature can be a strike against a landowner. Since 1998, the state has required that pool owner install safety features such as a pool alarm, a fence, or an outdoor cover to prevent accidents. More recently, a new law has taken effect as of January 1, 2018, that requires new or remodeled pool areas to have at least two safety features. Other factors that can prove a pool owner’s negligence can include a lack of warning signs on the property or a lack of proper maintenance for the pool itself. If a trespasser was unable to get out of the pool due to untreated water, creating a slippery surface on the sides and bottom of the pool, it would be an argument for poor maintenance on the landowner’s part.
Negligence can also be assigned to outside parties, depending on the situation of the accident. If pool equipment malfunctions and consequentially contributes to an injury or death, those who installed the equipment can also be held liable. The issue of product liability may also arise in a case where manufacturers of even wholesalers can be connected to the accident.
Legal Strategy for Compensation
While many states use the attractive nuisance doctrine in cases of child trespassing, in California the status of the victim (whether they are an invitee, license, or trespasser) is no longer relevant. Instead, recovering damages in a case becomes a matter of proving that a landowner failed to use reasonable care in ensuring a safe environment. Factors involved can include whether a landowner can anticipate child trespassing, whether the landowner was aware of dangerous conditions on the property, whether the child was able to comprehend the present dangers, or even the land owner’s capacity to resolve the dangerous conditions. If your child has been involved in a swimming pool accident or a loved one has suffered from such a tragic experience, seeking legal counsel from the attorneys at Los Angeles Injury Group should be your next step. If you want the best chance at recovering damages for your loss, you should have an experienced legal team review your case. Call 310-954-7248 today for a free consultation.