How can you limit the liability of a backyard swimming pool?
Having a swimming pool at your home can be wonderful in the hot summer weather. However, it also poses great liability. Find out how to protect yourself.
It can get quite warm in New Jersey in the summer months, which causes homeowners to consider adding a swimming pool to their backyards. While it is wonderful to take a cool dip when the temperature soars, pools also pose great safety risks. Accidents can happen in an instant, and in the worse case scenarios, someone can drown. This all leads back to the homeowner, who is legally liable for accidents and injuries on his or her property.
How accidents happen
The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association, Inc. explains that accidents happen all the time in backyard pools. Most often, the victims are children, especially young ones who may not have the skills or abilities to be safe around water. Children love water, but they often do not realize how dangerous it is. A small child may see a pool as an invitation for fun and have no worries about jumping in even if there are no adults around. This can lead to devastating consequences.
Even adults and older children can get hurt in and around a pool. There are electrical hazards, slips and falls and anyone can drown. Accidents happen all the time. Nobody is 100 percent safe.
Before a person ever considers installing a pool, he or she should learn about local laws, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Many jurisdictions have specific rules to help improve safety around pools. These may include laws pertaining to fencing or building codes that must be followed. If a pool is installed and doesn’t meet local ordinances, a homeowner could be ordered to remove it.
It is also important for homeowners to understand how a pool will affect their homeowner’s insurance. In general, a pool is classified as an attractive nuisance. According to Consumer Affairs, this means that it is a known danger. Insurance companies do not like things that increase the danger around the home, so policies with an added pool will likely reflect this. Furthermore, homeowners may want to consider increasing coverage just in case something does happen. Insurance should be able to cover the expenses from injuries or other accidents.
Keeping everyone safe
The best way to ensure that a pool does not cause any harm to anyone is to keep basic safety rules in mind. Homeowners should institute rules, including not allowing running or horseplay in the pool area, not allowing anyone to swim alone and requiring a lifejacket for anyone who cannot swim or who is under a certain age. It is also wise to install locked gates and alarms if there are young children around who could get into the pool unseen. Finally, a smart move is to avoid diving boards and slides, which cannot be removed after each swim and are enticing to children.
Having a backyard swimming pool is a lot of fun, but it also brings with it a lot of responsibility. If you have had an accident occur in your pool, consider seeking legal counsel from an attorney, such as Hobbie & DeCarlo, P.C.