In many cases, a property owner is not liable for injuries suffered by a trespasser on their property. However, one common exception to this is the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, which helps to protect children against objects that are likely to attract them—such as a swimming pool.
If someone owns property that contains a swimming pool or even– in some cases– an artificial pond, fountain, or lake, child trespassing laws state that they owe a duty of care to children who may trespass. While an adult is not owed this same duty of care if they trespass, a child is not held to the same standard. Because of a child’s age and level of maturity, they are generally less capable of understanding the risks associated with certain activities. An experienced drowning accident lawyer understands that the attractive nuisance doctrine is the legal system’s method of protecting children from themselves.
If a property contains a pool, then the owner is subject to the regulations listed in Section 757 of the Texas State Health and Safety Codes, which state the following:
- There must be a fence around the pool, and each pool fence needs to be at least four feet high
- These pool fences need to be constructed from products other than chain link fence material
- Each fence’s gate must self-close and self-latch automatically. Further, the latches shall be installed in a manner and position that renders it difficult for children to open or close it
- During periods where the pool is not in use, the gate to the pool must be secured by a combination lock, padlock, or card-operated lock
- All pool maintenance tools and chemicals shall be stored in locations that are secure against their accidental use
An experienced Dallas swimming pool accident lawyer will explain that determining whether or not a property owner will be held liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine for a swimming pool accident will hinge on several factors:
- The property owner either knew or reasonably should have known that a child would likely be able to gain access.
- Children would likely be unable to comprehend the risk presented by the object that serves as the attractive nuisance. Here, the age and abilities of the child are considered. For example, it will be much easier for this element to be satisfied if the victim is a 5-year old than if the victim is a 17-year old senior in high school.
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to remove or minimize safety hazards.
- The property owner knew, or reasonably should have known, that there was a high risk of danger on the property. If someone owns a swimming pool, it is common sense that the pool can be extremely dangerous– and even fatal– for an unsupervised child.
- The cost of addressing the dangerous condition is low when weighed against the substantial risk posed to a child trespasser.
While many accidents caused by swimming pool negligence are fatal, other children may survive. However, they might still incur life-changing injuries, such as brain damage, or learning disabilities. So even if your child was fortunate enough to have survived, the resulting emotional and financial fallout for you and your family can be steep. Depending on the severity of your child’s injuries, you and your child may be eligible to recover the following types of damages:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of past and future income
- Loss of earning potential
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life and loss of companionship
If your child was injured– or even killed– in a drowning accident, at Angel Reyes & Associates, we fully understand the devastation you and your family are feeling right now. To achieve the maximum amount of justice and enable you and your loved ones to focus on healing, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced Dallas premises liability lawyer.
At Angel Reyes & Associates, our attorneys have recovered nearly $1 billion in settlements for our injured clients over the past 30 years. With our success rate of 98 percent, we take pride in achieving desirable outcomes for our clients when they need it most.
If your child was injured in a swimming pool or other artificial body of water while trespassing, call Angel Reyes & Associates 24 hours a day to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer in Dallas. You can learn about the merits of your claim. Victims and their families never receive a bill from us unless they win their case.