Just Keep Swimming: Tips To Reduce Your Backyard Pool's Liability

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Summer is just around the corner, and that means pool time. However, if you've just installed a new swimming pool, there are a lot of preventative measures and rules you should abide by in order to make sure you aren't liable for any accidents. Read on to learn how to reduce your liability claims surrounding your pool.

1. Be Diligent Like a Lifeguard

It wouldn't hurt if you and your family invested in some CPR classes. Since you won't have professional lifeguards like a public pool would, it will be your duty to watch kids and other guests that you invite over.

You'll also want to be diligent and brush up on the different liability issues that you could be accused of, such as inadequate supervision, easy access to the premises, and negligence. You could also be accused of creating an attractive nuisance—an object or property that attracts the attention of children easily, but that could be dangerous.

2. Only Allow Those That Have Had Swim Lessons

The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention reports that drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. However, the good news is that this statistic can be reduced significantly if you require your guests to have taken swim lessons before they can enjoy your pool. USAswimming.org says that if children ages 1 to 4 take lessons, they can reduce their chances of drowning by as much as 88%!

If you have young children visiting that have not yet had lessons, you may want to invest in some floaty devices and make sure that their parents are required to supervise as well.

3. Secure Your Pool When Not in Use

While you can't always prevent pool hopping, you can certainly deter it. One of the best things you can do is invest in a fence and locking gate. Although you could still unfairly be accused of fault, these preventative measures show your diligence and further prove that the culprits were trespassing. Signs.com says that there are different building requirements (e.g. slat spacing)concerning the fence you choose, but most states require at least a 4-foot gate. Also, even though your pool is on private property, many states require that you display warning signs. You may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer to make sure that your pool, sign, and fence meet all the safety requirements.

4. Watch out For the Little-Known Liability Issues

While drowning is the big-name issue for pool liability, there are other issues you may have not even thought about. First off, you may be tempted to put more chemicals in the pool than is needed. For instance, a few years ago some teens filed a lawsuit because the glow-in-the-dark chemicals were used in the pool. Like the CPR training, you'll want to receive training concerning which chemicals can or cannot go into your pool.

If you have any pool accessories like lighting or water slides, your guests could be at risk for electrocution. So, make sure that the wiring is secure and not exposed. Since DIY concerning electricity is dangerous, it's best to contact your local power company to get it checked out.

Lastly, make sure that everyone only walks around the pool. Lay rubber mats to prevent any slip-and-fall injuries.

5. Keep the Alcohol to a Minimum

While child injuries may be your biggest concern, parties with adults can be risk too. Since pool parties can entail drinking, make sure that you keep it to a minimum. One of your guests could easily drown if they are drunk. Also, even if you prevent accidents from happening around the pool, you could still be up for social host liability if you let any of your guests drive home drunk.

To prevent these kinds of problems, you'll want to review your homeowner's insurance. Many of these policies have a portion called liability protection which can cover accidents on your property—like pool-related accidents. If you aren't sure if you're protected, again, you'll want to consult a lawyer from a firm like Modesitt Law Offices PC.