The Potential Liabilities of an Inground Swimming Pool

August 17, 2022 | Christina M. Bezas | Commercial Litigation

Many of Long Island’s residents share a deep love for the area’s dreamy summers. From dense wooded hiking trails to quiet secluded beaches overlooking the Long Island Sound, the area offers residents the perfect environment to enjoy nature and summertime.

In addition to taking advantage of the Island’s coastal areas, many local residents seek respite from the summer heat in their own backyard swimming pools. Although swimming pools are the main summer attraction for  adults and children, offering a place to gather and socialize, it is important for homeowners to understand the liability they could face by owning an inground pool.

Who is responsible if an adult or child is injured in an accident involving a homeowner’s swimming pool? Can a homeowner be vulnerable to litigation if someone sustains an injury while diving into their pool or using their pool slide? The answer is yes.

Depending on the circumstances of a pool-related accident and the condition of the swimming pool, homeowners may be liable for damages related to an accident involving their pool. In New York, owners of private residential  swimming pools have a duty to maintain their pools in a reasonably safe condition in light of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury and the burden of avoiding the risk.

Homeowners should be vigilant about operating and maintaining their pools. For instance, homeowners should – among other things – ensure that their swimming pool is properly enclosed, cleaned and maintained; and well-lit at night so that the depth of the water is discernible. Homeowners should also carefully consider the location of any diving boards or pool slides so they are placed in the safest location in proximity to the pool. It is also a  good idea to provide a safety float line separating the shallow and deep ends of a pool. If the depth of a homeowner’s pool is not suitable for diving, the homeowner should consider displaying a visible “No Diving” sign. Of  course, homeowners should also ensure that children are adequately supervised and may want to consider hiring private lifeguards for pool gatherings that include children.

If you have an inground swimming pool or are considering installing one, it is also a good idea to consider purchasing umbrella liability insurance coverage. Umbrella liability insurance coverage could provide you with  additional protection beyond the existing limits and coverage of the liability insurance already in your other insurance policies.

This article appeared in the August 2022 issue of Stroll Lloyd Harbor.

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