Tragedy can strike unexpectedly especially around the swimming pool area. The popular recreational activity comes with its fair share of dangers and—as we have seen before on numerous occasions—it can turn grim in a number of unexpected ways.
When should I file a wrongful death suit?
Losing a loved one in an incident that was the result of another person’s negligence warrants you to file a wrongful death suit against that person. In many instances, the pool owner is liable regardless of whether he/she was present during the time of the incident. This is especially so if the accident was caused by a fault/insufficiency pertaining to the swimming pool itself or the poolside area.
You are eligible to file a suit against the pool owner following the death of a loved one on his/her property IF the death was a result of at least one of the following:
- Negligence on the part of the swimming pool owner – an obvious lack of adherence to swimming pool safety guidelines makes the swimming pool owner directly liable for the death of your loved one. If for instance the victim was tripped by a rope, cable, or an object that was not supposed to be around the swimming pool area, this can be chalked down as negligence on the part of the pool owner.
- A poorly equipped swimming pool facility – faulty pool structures such as unmaintained surfaces and faulty electronic components can easily lead to the death of individuals within the swimming pool. Children are especially prone to getting stuck in uncovered pool drains while exposed wires or faulty electronic appliances may lead to the electrocution of everyone in and around the pool.
- Lack of proper safety equipment around the pool – In the event of an accident in the swimming pool, the life-guard/supervisor has only seconds to react as even the slightest delay can lead to the death or permanent injury of a swimmer. If, for instance, the poolside is not properly equipped with Coast-Guard approved life jackets and safety rings, this could delay rescue missions significantly and increase the risk of death when an accident happens.
- Lack of properly trained lifeguards – a life guard’s role is not just to ensure that the swimming pool safety rules are adhered to, he/she is also the first responder in the event of an emergency. If the death of your loved one occurred due to an inexperienced or reckless lifeguard, it is the swimming pool owner that will be held accountable. Also, it is the legal obligation of swimming pool owners to ensure that there are enough lifeguards supervising the swimming pool.
- Lack of clear signage – Although swimming pool owners are required to put up clear warning signs around the pool, they cannot hide behind the signs in the event of a lawsuit IF the death was as a result of any of the above causes.
When should I not file a wrongful death suit?
- If the death of your loved one resulted from horseplay and/or activities that were restricted in and around the pool area such as running or diving in a shallow pool, it is not advisable to sue the pool owner, especially if the pool meets all the required pool safety standards.
- If the victim died from natural causes that were in no way connected to the status of the pool or any insufficiencies of the pool area, you may not have the proper standard of proof which is necessary for you to win the case.
Although pool owners are legally obligated to ensure the safety of the individuals occupying the swimming pool at all times, the swimmers also have a role to play in ensuring their own safety by adhering to the various safety procedures around the pool area.