According to CBS Boston, an 18-year-old teen girl and her friend attempted to go swimming in a pool at around 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The pool was not their own swimming pool, nor the pool of a friend. Instead, it was a stranger’s pool that the teen girls happened to stumble upon when driving by and that the girls decided to jump into in order to cool off. The pool also happened to be empty because it was being repaired.
Our Boston, MA injury attorneys know that property owners can be held responsible if they have dangerous conditions on their property and if someone gets hurt. This can even be true in certain cases if the person who gets hurt is a trespasser. In this case, however, the property owner likely did nothing wrong because his swimming pool was securely fenced. Fences are important around swimming pools not just to protect homeowners from legal liability but also to help avoid tragic accidents.
Swimming Pools Should Always Be Fenced
Swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” in the eyes of the law. Essentially, this term is used because swimming pools are dangerous and because they are also appealing to kids and could entice children to trespass onto a property and try to swim, leading to drowning or other injuries.
Because swimming pools are an attractive nuisance, pool owners need to have their pools securely fenced with a gate that remains latched. The gate is supposed to keep kids out and is supposed to help prevent drowning accidents. If a homeowner fails to have a gate surrounding his or her swimming pool, then the owner may be held legally responsible for any losses that result if a child wanders in and is hurt.
A homeowner’s potential liability for a swimming pool accident often becomes an issue when the trespassing child is very young. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 75 percent of victims who die in pool and spa-related incidents are under the age of five. However, fences can also help to keep out older kids who decide to “pool hop,” or to use other people’s pools to get cool.
In this recent Massachusetts case wherein the teen girls took it upon themselves to swim on someone else’s property, the homeowner had a fence and likely did everything required by law. The pool was largely hidden from view with a six-foot privacy fence obstructing it from the street. A four-foot chain link fence surrounds the rest of the pool area and the fence is likely up-to-code because the man who owned the home is the building inspector for Westford and is in charge of reviewing swimming pool installs to ensure local safety requirements are met.
Despite the precautions, the teens broke into the pool and tried to swim anyway, which led to serious injuries, including a skull fracture; a spinal injury and a broken wrist.
The teens will face charges for trespassing because they broke into the homeowner’s pool to go swimming.
If the homeowner had lacked a fence, however, and if the kids had been younger, then the homeowner could have been held responsible even if a child was hurt while trespassing to go into the pool. This accident, therefore, is a reminder that a fence should be installed not just to protect kids from harm but also to protect swimming pool owners from being held legally responsible for injuries.
If you’ve been hurt, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.