Who is liable for an accident at a pool ? Pool liability, pool accidents, pool safety and more..

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Who is liable for an accident at a pool ? Pool liability, pool accidents, pool safety and more..

Swimming pool accidents and liability    pool accident lawyers

There’s no doubt that summer is here and the pools are open.  The City of Ottawa has opened its outdoor pools and plans on opening the wading pools in the next week or so.  With all this swimming taking place, there is an increased risk of accidents ranging from slips around the pool to fatal drownings.   A report by the World Health Organization says drowning is among the top causes of death for children worldwide. In 2012, in Ontario, there were 178 fatalities due to drownings.  If we look at all drownings and not just pool drownings the majority of Ontario drowning victims are men (8/ 10).  When it comes to pool drownings, drowning has become the leading cause of death for young children ages 1 -4 (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ), and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. For toddlers, swimming pools provide the greatest risk of submersion injury. (Thompson DC, Rivara F. Pool fencing for preventing drowning of children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews1998) . While we tend to focus on pool drowning injuries, it’s important to also look at the very serious injuries that can occur in and around a pool.  Whether at a public pool or a private pool, even a slip around a pool can have very serious and life-altering consequences.  Some pool accidents can lead to life-altering changes such as brain injuries or injuries that affect one’s ability to return to the life they once had. In most slip-and-fall pool accidents, there are hazards present such as wet pavement, objects in the way or cracked cement or tiles.

Private pool accidents

As an owner of a pool,  liability and responsibility for maintaining a reasonably safe pool area, free from hazards, lies on you.  It’s important to constantly check over your pool area for hazards. This includes checking the latch on your gate to make sure no little ones can stumble in uninvited and without supervision. Supervision is also of critical importance when it comes to avoiding pool accidents.  Always ensure that adequate supervision is in place.  Even if everyone in your pool can swim, that does not necessarily mean they shouldn’t be supervised.  We even suggest having a visible “Pool Rules” sign posted, to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that everyone using the pool knows the safety rules. We should also mention that hot tubs and lap pools also have similar dangers. Owning a pool, hot tub or lap pool comes with the responsibility of ensuring its safe use.

Public pool accidents

Public pools also have their fair share of safety concerns.  Oftentimes, most public pools are busy and proper supervision can be difficult.  The Occupier’s Liability Act establishes the standard of care applicable to occupiers in section 3(1) of the Act: Occupier’s duty 3. (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.  This duty of reasonable care not only applies to the swimming premises and its surroundings but also to activities that users will participate in while on the premises. So it’s not just about the condition of the pool, it’s also about what’s happening in and around the pool.


Contact our team

All this to say, that it is important for pool patrons to know and obey the safety rules; however pool accidents still happen.  If a pool area is not reasonably safe, the owner of that pool may be liable for your injuries.  In many cases, these injuries require significant medical rehabilitation and this means maximum personal injury compensation is needed from the insurance company of the pool owner. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pool accident, it’s important you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. He/she can explain to you what benefits you may be entitled to from the insurance company and help give you an idea of the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.  If you are injured at a public pool, such as a City Of Ottawa pool, it’s important you report your accident in a timely manner as the City of Ottawa has strict timelines for reporting.  If you have missed these timelines, our lawyers can help you with this. Call or email us for a free consultation and we can discuss by phone/email or even come visit you to walk you through your next steps.

Swim safely and have a great summer!

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.