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Pool Hopping Accident Injures Teen; Illustrates Importance of Pool Fences

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.

Avoiding pedestrian accidents: Halloween safety tips for trick-or-treaters

Halloween can be a fun and exciting day for children – and for a lot of adults – but accidents can happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of four wrongful deaths per year occurred during Halloween hours among children ages 5-14 years after pedestrian accidents involving cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is typically the second deadliest day for pedestrians (after New Year’s Day). Without question, trick-or-treaters and drivers need to be extra cautious on the roads on Oct. 31.

To reduce risks of Halloween accidents, we offer the following pedestrian safety tips for trick-or-treaters:

  • Consider costumes that are lighter in color and more visible to drivers, or add reflective material to the front and back of a costume.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks, or wear masks that are well-fitting with eye and ear holes that don’t obstruct sight or hearing.
  • Parents should walk with trick-or-treaters who are younger than 12 years old.
  • Use a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
  • Avoid crossing yards.
  • Look both ways before crossing streets, and use crosswalks when possible.
  • Always use sidewalks, or if there are none, stay on the far edge of the road facing traffic.

For drivers:

  • Drive safely and be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters. Children’s behavior can be unpredictable. They may dart out into the road.
  • Buckle up children if you are driving them around for trick-or-treating. Make sure they wear seat belts every time they get into the car, even if you’re driving a short distance.
  • Pull over to safe locations to let children out of the car. Let them exit curb side, away from traffic. When you stop, use your hazards to alert other drivers.
  • Don’t use a cell phone while driving. While cell phone use and driving on any day can raise your risk of an accident, it’s especially important for drivers to avoid using the cell phone on Halloween. Check for messages or talk on the cell phone after you’ve pulled over safely.

Enjoy Halloween and stay safe. Remember, accidents can happen in an instant. Serious injuries can result in months, years or even a lifetime of struggle. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact an accident attorney at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone for a free consultation. We have decades of collective trial experience and a demonstrated record of verdicts and settlements. Talk to an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer today.

The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone serves people who have been injured due to the negligence of others in Springfield, Boston, Worcester, and throughout Massachusetts.