The San Diego area is full of swimming pools, from the private Rancho Bernardo Swim & Tennis Club to public pools managed by San Diego Parks & Recreation. When you visit a hotel pool, a public pool, or a swimming pool at the home of a friend or family member in or around San Diego County, it is important to be aware of slip and fall risks. People who own or manage properties including swimming pools owe a duty of care to customers (for private club and public pools) and to friends and family members (for private residential pools) who are on the property.
Sometimes swimming pool slips and falls happen when nobody plans to swim but the area near the pool is slick from water, while slips and falls also happen to swimmers and sunbathers. We want to say more about preventing slip and fall injuries and provide clarification about liability in swimming pool slips and falls.
Keeping Areas Around Pools Safe
Whether it is a public pool or a private residential pool, it is important to ensure that the area is free from hazards that could cause a slip and fall accident. An article from Urban Pool Services discusses the following safety tips for preventing slips and falls around a pool:
- Walkways adjacent to the pool should be covered with a non-slip surface and, if possible, should have added traction;
- Pedestrian walkways around pools should be free from any obstacles that could lead to a trip and fall;
- Any uneven walkways, or other potentially dangerous pathways, should have handrails for pedestrians to use;
- Fencing and other protective barriers can prevent people from slipping and falling into a pool;
- Warning signs around a pool deck can warn people about the risk of potentially slippery surfaces and the added dangers of running on slick surfaces;
- Excessive areas of pool water in pedestrian pathways should be eradicated; and
- Slick walkways farther distances from the pool caused by wet shoes and wet feet should be cleaned up and/or should be accompanied by warning signs.
Liability for a Pool Slip and Fall
In order for the property owner or manager to be liable for injuries in a slip and fall that happens near a pool, the injured party will need to prove the essential factual elements of a premises liability claim under California law. More specifically, the injured party will need to be able to prove:
- Defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property including the swimming pool;
- Defendant was negligent in his or her use or maintenance of the property;
- Plaintiff was harmed; and
- Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
You should keep in mind that, in order to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent, the injured party will need to show that the property owner failed to use reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. One of the factors that can be considered in determining whether a property owner is negligent is the location of the property, as well as the difficulty of protecting against the risk of harm. Given that swimming pools are known to produce slick surfaces, it may be more difficult to prove liability in a swimming pool slip and fall than in another type of premises liability claim. However, that does not mean that the property owner cannot be held accountable.
Contact a Rancho Bernardo Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a slip and fall claim, a Rancho Bernardo slip and fall attorney can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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