Personal Injury & Pools: Pool Owners Have Big Responsibilities
After the long, cold, and dark winter Ontario had this year most of us are more than ready for some warm weather. With spring in full swing and the beautiful summer months approaching, many homeowners are opening their backyard pools.
Backyard pools are the ideal way to cool off during the summer, enjoy some quality time with friends and family, and host a great backyard barbeque. However, if you’re a pool owner it’s important that you make your water zone as safe as possible to avoid being potentially liable if someone is injured.
For the most part, pools are a place for enjoyment and fun. That said, as a pool owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that before the fun starts, you enforce rules and make your pool area as risk-free as possible. Even though the backyard pool is a place for a ton of fun, it can also be a place where someone incurs a mild, severe, or in extreme cases, deadly injury.
Without the proper prevention and safety precautions personal injuries (i.e., brain, spinal, catastrophic) from an accident are more likely to occur and you risk being liable for the injuries and damages incurred.
Too often in the summertime newscasters report tragic and preventable water-related accidents. The Lifesaving Society’s 2011 Drowning Report estimates that nearly 500 Canadians die in water-related accidents annually. This estimate excludes those who are mildly, moderately, or severely injured from a water-related accident, which would make the number much higher.
Regardless of a swimmer’s age or swimming level, pool accidents and injuries do happen and in the case an injured person files a case against you, you may be liable to compensate them. In order to keep everyone safe and avoid liabilities, it’s critical that you do what you can to make you pool-zone and danger-free zone.
Implementing the proper safety precautions this summer should be a priority if you’re a pool owner. Doing so is simple – here are some potential ideas that have been mentioned by others:
1. Always have someone supervising and never let anyone swim alone:
Though this may seem like an obvious safety measure, too often water-related injuries occur because a person was alone during an emergency without anyone near to help them. No matter the age or swimming level of someone using your pool, they should never be in the pool or pool area alone. Water-related accidents tend to happen very quickly and having someone around in the case of an emergency can be the different between life and death.
2. Install a surrounding barrier or fence:
Installing a four-sided barrier or fence around your pool can save lives and shows that you’re taking on the responsibility of keeping your pool safe. Fences are especially important if you have younger children in the area who tend to be naturally curious about water-zones. In addition, consider installing locks, alarms, and safety-covers where possible to minimize safety-risks even further.
3. Go over the “pool rules”:
Before anyone uses the pool you should go over some of the rules you have in place. Using this as a precautionary measure can help make people aware of what the “pool rules” are and why. For instance showing them where the shallow-end and the deep-end of the pool are, no running, no diving etc. This will keep everyone aware of what safe and unsafe pool behaviour is and make for a safe pool-zone.
4. Have first aid and emergency tools onsite:
Around your pool you should have certain first aid and emergency tools close-by such as first aid kit, phone, flotation devices, or life jackets. Ensuring that these items are nearby can help ease the severity of an emergency and prevent injuries from occurring.
Pool owners should be informed of their responsibilities to maintain a safe water-area for those using it. In contrast, if you’re injured while using someone’s pool and believe you should be compensated, it’s important that you speak with a personal injury lawyer from Steven Polak’s team. A private property owner has to take “reasonable” steps to make sure that persons are reasonably safe while they are on the property.
The process of filing a case and determining if you’re eligible for compensation can be a confusing process. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate through the process of filing a case and provide you with the necessary information you need regarding the scenario.
For more information on the Steven Polak team or to contact a personal injury lawyer from the firm please visit www.personalinjurylawlawyer.ca.
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