When Is a Public Swimming Pool Liable for Accidents?

Warm weather means swimming pool season in New York and everywhere else in the U.S. Swimming pools provide a great way for New Yorkers to cool off on hot summer days. In a perfect world, there’s little to worry about as everyone has fun.

Unfortunately, a fun afternoon can quickly turn tragic. Swimming pool accidents in New York happen when people least expect them. Patrons can slip and fall and sustain severe injuries, or a swimmer could struggle to stay afloat and succumb to a tragic drowning accident. In both cases, families of victims may find themselves asking what led to the accident and when is a public swimming pool liable for accidents?

It’s critical that victims or their families hold public swimming pools, hotels, or resorts accountable for their negligence. So if you are wondering, “Can you sue for a swimming pool accident?” — the simple answer is yes.

Holding responsible parties liable for their actions or omissions serves two key purposes. Filing a premises liability lawsuit against the public swimming pool could push for change and deter other establishments from making the same mistake. This means a safer environment for New Yorkers who love to swim on those hot summer days.

Filing a claim can also result in a monetary reward that can help the victim become financially whole again. This compensation covers expenses that the victim and their loved ones may have incurred due to the swimming accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Visitors’ Rights in New York: Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser?

Most swimming pool accident claims in NYC are premises liability claims. To understand premises liability laws in New York, it’s important to understand how entrants into public or private premises are classified. Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners, like hotel and resort owners, responsible for accidents and injuries caused by unsafe conditions on their property.

The landowner’s duties may vary depending on the visitor’s classification when they enter the property. In New York, the status of visitors is generally divided into three categories:

  • Invitees: An example of an invitee is a swimmer using a public pool. They are invitees since their presence is the very reason the public swimming pool exists. Hotels and resorts owe invitees the highest degree of care.
  • Licensees: An example of a licensee is someone with express or implied permission to enter a premises for non-business purposes. In this context, friends or social guests using a pool on private property are licensees.
  • Trespassers: These are people who aren’t authorized to be in a pool. The only legal duty property owners owe trespassers is not to intentionally harm them. However, if the trespasser is a young child, the attractive nuisance doctrine may apply.

What Is an Attractive Nuisance?

Under tort law, the attractive nuisance doctrine requires public pool owners in New York to exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to children. An attractive nuisance is anything on a property that draws a child in but threatens to cause harm, such as swimming pools, toys, or trampolines.

Remember, children are curious and might want to trespass into a swimming pool to play. The attractive nuisance doctrine requires property owners to treat children with the highest standard of care, just like invitees. Hotels and resorts in New York should eliminate potential dangers that threaten to harm children. For example, pool owners should erect pool barriers to prevent children from falling into their pools and drowning.

When Is a Public Swimming Pool Liable for Accidents?

In order to operate a public swimming pool in New York, the state enforces codes, rules, and regulations that owners must follow. If a pool owner violates these guidelines, swimmers may drown or sustain severe injuries, serving as direct evidence of negligence.

Unfortunately, many serious accidents happen due to the swimming pool owners’ negligence. Government agencies and employees may be liable if their negligence leads to preventable accidents that result in injuries in public pools. Hotel and resort owners may also be liable for injuries that residents sustain while using their swimming pools.

According to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, if you were “injured while lawfully on someone else’s property, the owner is liable for your injuries if the owner’s negligence caused your injury.”

Some common situations where a public swimming pool can be held liable for an accident include:

  • Failure to provide trained lifeguards.
  • Use of contaminated or unapproved water supply.
  • Failure to provide minimum disinfectant residual levels.
  • The pool bottom isn’t visible.
  • Failure to constantly operate pool disinfection and filtration equipment.
  • Lack of lifesaving equipment on the pool deck.
  • Unprotected electrical wiring and circuits within 10 feet of the public pool.
  • Lack of proper depth markings in the pool.
  • Overhead electrical lines within 20 feet of the pool.
  • Missing or broken main drain grate in the pool.
  • Sharp or glass objects around the deck area or in the pool.
  • Failure to maintain emergency lighting sources.
  • Plumbing cross-connections between swimming pool water and drinking water.
  • Plumbing cross-connections between the filter backwash facilities and the sewerage system.
  • Overcrowding within the swimming pool, resulting in poor supervision of swimmers.
  • Use of unapproved chemicals or unapproved application methods of chemicals to swimming pool water.
  • Failure to erect and maintain an enclosure that makes the pool inaccessible when it’s not in use.

The state of New York also outlines guidelines that govern swimming pool operations, supervision, and maintenance. An NYC resort may be liable for a swimming pool accident if they disregard these codes, rules, and regulations. If a public swimming pool violates any of the above guidelines and causes harm, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death or premises liability lawsuit in New York.

How Does Premises Liability Affect Swimming Pool Accidents?

Swimming pool claims in New York fall under premises liability law. Land and business owners are accountable for all injuries that invitees sustain from negligence on their property.

In a premises liability case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. This implies that you and your New York premises liability lawyer must establish all elements of negligence to prove that a pool owner’s negligence led to your injuries and losses.

  • Duty: Duty owed to the plaintiff is the one that corresponds to their status as a visitor of the public swimming pool or a pool in a hotel or resort. For invited guests, pool owners should fix and warn them about any dangers.
  • Breach: A pool owner in New York breaches their duty if they are aware of a dangerous condition and fail to fix it. For example, if a pool owner is aware that algae build-up has created a slippery walkway around the pool, but ignores cleaning the deck area, this creates the risk of a slip and fall that could lead to a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury.
  • Causation: This element shows that the owner’s actions or omissions were the direct and proximate cause of the swimming pool accident and injury.
  • Damages: The injury or wrongful death resulted in economic loss or emotional damage to the victim and their family.

An experienced swimming pool accident lawyer in New York can look into the facts of your case to determine whether the public swimming pool, hotel, or resort is liable for your injury and losses. If there is any wrongdoing on the defendant’s part, your attorney will help you file a premises liability claim.

What Are the Potential Damages From Swimming Pool Accidents?

With the help of a reliable New York swimming pool accident attorney, you may recover compensation that includes:

  • Medical expenses: This compensation covers any medical bills incurred as a result of the accident, such as surgeries, medication, doctor visits, and physical therapy.
  • Lost wages: If you are unable to go back to work after your accident, this compensation may cover missed work as well as compensation for diminished future earnings.
  • Pain and suffering: This financial compensation covers any lasting physical or emotional pain due to the swimming pool accident.
  • Wrongful death: When a pool owner’s negligence leads to the death of your loved one, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York.

Get Help From a Reputable Swimming Pool Liability Lawyer

If you or someone you care about has suffered a public swimming accident in New York that has led to injury or death due to the pool owner’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. Even as you struggle to cope with what happened, it’s crucial that you initiate legal proceedings to hold the responsible party accountable for the damage they’ve caused.

Such an incident could leave you wondering, “When is a public swimming pool liable for accidents?” You could also be facing a lifetime of medical and rehab expenses. Under New York law, you are entitled to seek compensation if the swimming pool accident was due to the owner’s negligence. With the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can recover the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Contact Kaplan Lawyers to speak to NYC swimming pool accident attorneys and learn about your rights and responsibilities under New York law. Our attorneys will help you understand when a public swimming pool is liable for your accident. We will also interview witnesses at the pool, gather the necessary evidence, and bring in financial and medical experts to build an airtight personal injury case.

Call (516) 399-2364 now to find out more about your legal options.

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan has focused his career on advancing his legal knowledge though the day to day practice of law. Jared is a partner in the law firm of Kaplan Lawyers PC in Syosset, New York and has been a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. His career started in litigation, so Jared is aware of the pitfalls in litigation and uses that knowledge in the representation of his clients in complex matters. [ Attorney Bio ]

Table of Contents

Archives