Swimming Pool Accidents
Whenever the weather warms up and summer approaches, swimming pools are on many people's minds. After all, there aren't many better ways to beat the Georgia heat by a refreshing dip in the pool. However, pools can also be dangerous, and it is the pool owner's responsibility to ensure that that his or her guests enjoy their pool safely and when victims are injured, they can often recover compensation form the person or party responsible for the pool.Georgia Premises Liability
Liability for swimming pool accidents is a function of premises liability--the general duty that all landowners owe to their guests to protect them from injury. Georgia's premises liability law is codified at O.C.G.A. 51-3-1, and reads, in relevant part:
Duty of owner or occupier of land to invitee:
Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.
Thus, in order to recover damages for a premises liability action arising out of a swimming pool injury, the plaintiff must prove the elements of negligence, which he or she can do by showing:
- Duty: Under the Georgia statute, a pool owner owes his or guests the duty to exercise ordinary care in keeping the pool and the surrounding premises safe.
- Breach: The pool owner breaches this duty when his conduct falls short of what the law requires. This could include a number of different actions, including failing to use non-slip surfaces around the pool or failing to maintain the pools equipment properly (such as the ladders and diving boards).
- Causation: Causation is a showing that the owner's actions were the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries.
- Damages: Damages are the injuries that the plaintiff sustained due to the defendant's actions. For pool injuries, this can range from a simple slip and fall all the way up to an accidental drowning.
Every pool owner in the city of Atlanta and Fulton County is required to meet a set of minimum safety requirements. Failure to meet any of these requirements can be used by a plaintiff to show that a pool owner breached his or her duty to the plaintiff. Some of the most important safety regulations include:
- Pool barriers: Every pool is required to be surrounded by a fence or wall so as to prevent unauthorized entry
- Lifesaving equipment: Every pool must be equipped with a shepherd's hook attached to a non-telescoping pole and a Coast Guard-approved lifesaving ring attached to a rope. This equipment should be mounted in a conspicuous place so as to be readily available for use.
- Lighting: A minimum of one watt of underwater lighting per square foot of pool surface area is required, as well as a minimum of ten foot candles on all deck areas.
- Depth markers: Permanent, easily-readable depth markers are required to delineate the actual pool depth within three inches at normal operating water level.
If you have been injured in a swimming pool accident, you may be able to recover from the pool owner if the injury was attributable to negligence. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677 or sending us an email. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Gwinnett County.