When can you hold a property owner liable for a poolside fall?

As kids, we were constantly cautioned, "Don't run!" as we raced around the slippery tile or cement surrounding the pool at a park, country club, hotel or a neighbor's house. As adults, we find ourselves yelling that same admonition to our kids, grandkids and even children we don't know.

Falls on slippery surfaces are just one kind of injury that people of all ages can suffer in and around swimming pools. However, it may be more difficult to hold a property owner liable for a slip-and-fall accident than for something like a dangerous mix of chemicals in the pool or the failure to cover a drain.

To sue a property owner or other individual or entity, a plaintiff needs to prove four things:

  • They had a duty to take steps to protect anyone invited on to the property and to warn them of known hazards.
  • They breached that duty.
  • That breach of duty led to the injury.
  • You suffered damage of some kind that warrants monetary damages.

Let's get back to that slip-and-fall accident. A property owner might be able to be held liable if they didn't place any kind of mats around the pool to minimize slippery surfaces.

If there was no fence or locked gate to prevent kids from sneaking into a pool area when it was unattended, that could be a problem. A pool can be considered an "attractive nuisance." That means even if kids were trespassing, a property owner still may be responsible for their injuries because the pool was too appealing to resist. Bounce houses and swing sets are other examples of attractive nuisances.

Whether you're at an indoor or outdoor pool, it's always essential to be careful of slippery surfaces. Even areas further away from the pool can become slippery from dripping swimming suits, spilled drinks and water guns.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a poolside slip-and-fall accident that you believe the property owner could and should have taken steps to prevent, it may be wise to consult with an attorney to determine whether you might have a viable lawsuit to seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses and damages.

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