Do you have access to a community pool in your neighborhood? If so, who is responsible to make sure the pool is a safe facility? What happens if someone gets injured at a community pool?
This guide from Gutierrez Law will help you find general answers to these questions. However, if you become involved in any kind of legal dispute related to a community pool, consult with a Los Angeles public pool injury attorney for specific advice in your case.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for minors under 14. However, drowning isn't the only possible harm that can happen at a community pool. Poorly maintained pools can cause orthopedic injuries due to slip and falls on the ground surrounding the pool. Broken ladders or defective diving boards can also break bones. Respiratory problems, intestinal, eye, ear, or skin infections can be caused by contaminated pool water. Failure to regularly clean the pool can result in many types of bacterial infections.
Many injuries resulting from an improperly maintained pool may not be immediately identifiable. A personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can help determine the source of harm. Consult such an attorney if you have any doubts what caused an injury.
Who Is Responsible for a Community Pool?
In Los Angeles, the homeowner's association (HOA) owns the pool and is the responsible party to maintain safety. Homeowners are not considered owners in case of any injury that occurs at the pool. Consequently, the HOA is responsible for any negligence that causes an injury. This can include responsibility for:
- Failure to maintain pool as required by law
- Slip and falls caused by defective flooring
- Failure to warn patrons about relevant hazards
- Lack of sufficient supervision
- Defective barriers around pool
However, the HOA's specific liability will depend on the legal relationship between the HOA and the injured party. Consult with a swimming pool injury lawyer to determine the specific legal relationship in any particular situation.
Community members, relatives of a homeowner, or friends of a homeowner are typically considered invitees in Los Angeles. In general, invitees are people who have received a specific invitation to use the pool. To protect invitees, the HOA must maintain the pool in a safe condition, they must warn pool patrons of hazards that could cause injury, and may be liable for inadequate supervision under certain conditions.
A community pool accident attorney can help you identify licensees.
A licensee is anyone who has the owner's express or implied consent to be at the pool. A licensee has permission to be on the property, but may not have a specific invitation to use the community pool.
Guests invited by community members will usually fall into this category. If a community member issues a "standing invitation" to someone to use the pool, they can be considered a licensee in some circumstances. If there is any question if an injured party received legal consent to be at the pool, seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer Los Angeles.
A trespasser is someone who has no legal right to be on private property. Anyone who lacks legal consent to use the pool facility and is not a member of the homeowner community will be a trespasser under the law. Just because someone lack permission to use the pool, doesn't mean the HOA bears no responsibility. Instead, the HOA's legal duty will fall under attractive nuisance law.
Any feature of a property that can attract attention or curiosity from passers-by is considered an "attractive nuisance." If the owner's property possess any such feature, the law imposes responsibility for attracting people to their property.
In general, any pool owner must take steps to keep people off of their property. This will often include constructing a barrier between the pool and the general public, pool covers, enclosures, and exit alarms on doors with access to the pool. State and local laws will determine what safety standards apply in any attractive nuisance case.
Unsupervised children are a particular problem with respect to attractive nuisance. The property must take precautions against attracting visits by children, even if they are uninvited trespassers. Failure to meet legal standards with respect to a community pool can sometimes result in a criminal misdemeanor as well as financial liability.
Consult with a community pool accident attorney to determine if a facility qualifies as an attractive nuisance or has failed to comply with safety standards.
Since homeowners do not own a community pool, the HOA bears extensive liability for providing such a facility. The law requires the HOA to maintain a safe facility and to prevent attracting undue attention from the public.
The HOA can be liable for many types of harm which do not seem directly related to maintaining a pool. Traumatic head injuries, broken bones, collapsed lungs, wrongful death, drowning, many types of infections, and concussions can all create legal exposure for the HOA. An experienced swimming pool injury lawyer can help you sort through all of the possible problems.
Consult a Los Angeles Public Pool Injury Attorney
This guide is only intended to provide general information. It is no substitute for legal advice. If you are caught up in any dispute about an injury that occurred at a community pool, seek legal advice immediately.