Swimming Pool Accidents and Liability in New York

Swimming Pool Sign

During a steamy summer like this one, you may be wishing you had a pool, or spending a lot more time at the homes of friends who do have pools. Unfortunately, accidental drownings in both private and public swimming pools remain tragically common. In fact, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death among children between one and four years of age. An average of 390 children between zero and 14 years of age die by drowning each year, with 76% of those children being under five years old. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 4,900 children under 15 years old were treated in emergency rooms for pool and Jacuzzi drowning-related injuries annually between 2011 and 2013. 75% of those deaths occurred in a residential pool.

Homeowners who have pools on their property bear legal responsibility for accidents occurring on their property. If children who were guests at the home were not adequately supervised when the drowning or injury occurred, the homeowner could be financially liable for negligently allowing the death to occur. Even if the child snuck onto the property without invitation, the owner could be legally responsible for the child’s injuries under the theory of “attractive nuisance.” “Attractive nuisance” describes something which is potentially dangerous, but which draws children to it. An owner of an attractive nuisance must take steps to protect children or other individuals with a reduced ability to understand the risks involved, even when the nuisance is on private property.

In order to prevent deaths of children who enter property either legally or illegally, the state of New York imposes certain safety requirements on homeowners with swimming pools, and certain municipalities impose even more stringent requirements. For example, for any pool built or modified after 2006, homeowners are required to have an alarm system installed that monitors the pool and can alert the homeowners whenever someone enters the pool. Additionally, pools must be completely enclosed by a fence that is at least four feet high and which obstructs entry to the pool.

If your child was injured in a private swimming pool because appropriate safety precautions were not taken by the owner, you may be entitled to compensation due to the negligence of the homeowners in complying with applicable laws. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you determine the next steps you should take after a swimming pool accident. From anywhere in Albany, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, or their surrounding areas, call Basch & Keegan for a free consultation on your potential lawsuit at (845) 338-8884 (Kingston) or (518) 288-5600 (Albany).