A swimming pool is a welcome addition to any home in Pennsylvania. However, owning a swimming pool also means that you could be liable for children who are attracted to your pool. If a child drowns in your pool, you could even be sued for failing to take steps to prevent the accident. If your child was injured in a swimming pool accident, and you want to learn more about your legal options and the liability associated with owning a pool, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyer. At The Reiff Law Firm, we are prepared to provide you with aggressive legal representation in your swimming pool injury case.
Premises Liability for Swimming Pool Accidents in Pennsylvania
Premises liability is an area of law that deals with liability property owners may face for failing to maintain their property. In Pennsylvania, property owners have a duty to correct any dangerous conditions that are present on their property.
When determining whether a property owner is liable for an injury due to a dangerous condition, you must first determine the status of the person that was injured. People who enter your property can be divided into three categories: a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee.
A trespasser is an individual who enters the property owner’s land without their consent, either purposely or accidentally. A property owner has a duty to avoid committing conduct that is considered wanton or willful negligence that may injure a trespasser. Wanton misconduct means that a property owner intentionally avoided correcting an issue that could injure another person. Willful conduct means that the property owner knew the condition could injure someone or wanted the condition to injure someone.
A licensee is an individual that enters a property owner’s land with the owner’s consent. Licensees are typically houseguests that are invited over for a social function. A property owner has a duty to correct unreasonable risks on their property that may injure a licensee. Alternatively, the property owner could also warn the licensee of the hazardous condition if it would not be obvious to the licensee.
A child who is attracted to a swimming pool will likely never meet the status of an invitee, as an “invitee” is an individual who enters a property to conduct business with the property owner. If you need to know more about the duties that property owners have in Pennsylvania, you should speak with our experienced Philadelphia swimming pool accident lawyers.
Swimming Pools and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
To determine whether someone can be held liable when a child is injured or drowns in a swimming pool, Pennsylvania uses the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. An attractive nuisance is a man-made condition that could draw a child’s attention. For example, if a child climbed a tree on someone’s property, fell, and suffered a brain injury, this would not be an attractive nuisance because a tree is not man-made. In contrast, a pool would generally fall under the description of an attractive nuisance.
The attractive nuisance rule uses a variety of factors to determine whether an individual is liable for a child drowning or suffering pool injuries. These factors for liability are:
- Whether the average property owner would believe the pool would attract, and pose a risk to, children
- Whether children can easily trespass onto the property to play in the pool
- Whether a minor child can recognize the risks involved with playing in the pool
- Whether the property owner acted promptly to eliminate the risks the pool posed to children
If you’re concerned that your swimming pool could harm children in your neighborhood, you should act immediately to correct any hazardous conditions involving the pool.
If your child was injured in someone’s pool while trespassing, the owner may be liable for your son or daughter’s injuries. Even if the owner did not intend for the pool to cause harm, he or she is still expected to exercise reasonable care when dealing with children and attractive nuisances. Failing to exercise reasonable care with a swimming pool can give rise to a premises liability or wrongful death lawsuit.
Philadelphia Drowning Accident Attorneys Can File Your Claim
If your child was injured in a swimming pool accident on a neighbor’s property, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney today. We know your family is going through a difficult time, and we are here to stand with you. The personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm have over 40 years of combined experience that we are ready to dedicate to your case. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (215) 709-6940, or contact us online.