With its sky-high desert temperature, swimming pools are a necessity for many Las Vegas locals and tourists. During the summer, dozens of Las Vegas hotels and casinos host huge pool parties. The owners of these properties, along with the owners of private pools, have a legal duty to make sure their pools are safe and that guests are not vulnerable to preventable injuries and illnesses caused by dangerous conditions.
If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a Las Vegas pool accident, you should be aware of your legal rights. If your injuries were caused by negligence, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim against the pool owner. You can learn more about your legal options after a pool injury by contacting the Las Vegas pool injury lawyers of the Cottle Firm at 702-722-6111.
When Can Pool Owners Be Held Liable For Injuries?
Pool owners can be held liable for injuries and related damages if their negligence contributed to the victim’s injuries.
All pool owners, both residential and commercial, have a legal obligation to keep their pools and other parts of their properties safe from foreseeable hazards. Legally, this obligation is known as a duty of care, which is owed to all visitors. Failing to meet this legal obligation constitutes negligence.
Some common types of pool owner negligence that can lead to preventable swimming pool injuries include:
- Unsecured barriers or gates surrounding the pool area
- Improper chemical treatment affecting water quality in the pool
- Trip-inducing objects scattered near the pool
- Inadequate staffing and oversight
- Fault or hazardous pool drain covers
- Inadequate depth markers and signage
- Cracked or damaged tile flooring surrounding the pool
Differences Between Public and Private Pool Liability
Although both private and public pool owners have a legal obligation to keep their properties safe, the specifics of liability vary between them. Public pools are required to abide by different safety standards than homeowners with pools on their properties.
Liability For Public Pool Injuries
People who use swimming pools at Las Vegas hotels, casinos, or resorts are legally considered invitees. Property owners owe invitees the highest standard of care, as pool visitors usually benefit the property owner by visiting the pool. Public pool owners are expected to meet the following standards to protect their guests:
- Regularly check for hazards and address them promptly
- Regularly inspect the pool and surrounding areas for safety
- Make sure the pool is consistently operated in compliance with codes and regulations
- Provide sufficient warning to guests when addressing a hazard (such as a wet floor sign)
- Train staff to respond to emergencies
Public pools are also required to keep certain times of safety equipment on the premises, including a spinal injury board with neck and head stabilizers, personal protective equipment (i.e. latex gloves and resuscitation masks), at least one Coast Guard-approved rescue throwing device, and at least one reaching pool of 12 to 16 feet.
Public pools also have stringent lifeguard regulations, which are not a requirement for pools in private homes.
Las Vegas properties must keep lifeguards on staff if the pool area allows unsupervised children under age 14, or if the pool surface area is more than 2,000 square feet. A lifeguard must also be on duty any time the pool is over 80 percent capacity. To prevent fatigue, lifeguards should work on shift rotations and no lifeguard should be on active watch for more than an hour at a time.
If someone is injured or drowns in a Las Vegas pool that was not following lifeguard regulations at the time, the owner of the pool will likely be considered negligent and could be held liable for damages.
Pool owners can also be considered negligent even if they were following regulations if the lifeguards failed to properly respond to an emergency. The “10/20 rule” is a standard for all types of lifeguards, which states that lifeguards should be able to spot a danger within 10 seconds and get to the victim to assist within 20 seconds. If a pool guest is injured or dies due to an inattentive lifeguard failing to reach them, the pool owner could be held liable.
Private Pool Injury Liability
If you’re a guest at someone’s private pool, it is reasonable to assume that the homeowner has taken all necessary precautions to ensure a safe swimming environment. Homeowners have a legal duty to both maintain their pools in a safe condition and alert their guests to any hazards, such as a malfunctioning ladder or broken tiles surrounding the pool.
Homeowners are also obligated to install proper barriers or fencing around their swimming pools. A pool without sufficient security measures is considered an “attractive nuisance”, which is a legal doctrine that applies to conditions or features on a property that are likely to lure children into a potentially dangerous situation. In such situations, even if a child accesses the pool without permission, the homeowner could still be found liable for any ensuing injuries.
If an injury occurs and the victim wants to take legal action, the claim is typically filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy. If the injured party is successful in their claim, the insurance provider will cover their damages up to the specified limit of the homeowner’s policy. However, if the awarded damages surpass this limit, the injured party has the legal right to pursue additional financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against the homeowner.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries in Las Vegas
Swimming can be dangerous if hazardous conditions are present in or around the pool. Here are some of the most common types of swimming pool injuries our Las Vegas pool injury lawyers see in our cases.
Drowning is the biggest threat to swimmers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide.
Pool owners are obligated to do everything they can to prevent drownings. This includes making sure that lifeguards are on duty and ensuring that these lifeguards continuously monitor the pool and the people using it, especially children.
Slips and Falls
Pool decks can easily become slippery, which can pose a hazard to guests. Lifeguards should keep a close eye on the surrounding area of the pool and make sure that guests do not run on these surfaces, as this could easily lead to a slip and fall.
Slipping and falling on a pool deck can result in severe injuries, including broken bones, serious head and brain injuries, cuts, and sprains. Anti-slip surfaces can help prevent such injuries.
Pool Chemical Injuries
Pool chemicals are used to treat water and prevent illnesses and the spread of these illnesses. However, these chemicals must be properly handled, as errors can cause chemical injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pool chemical injuries resulted in approximately 13,508 emergency room visits between 2015 and 2017.
Swimming pool owners must make sure their pool chemicals are at the recommended levels. If guests suffer chemical injuries as a result of negligence by the pool owner, the owner could be held liable for damages.
Talk to Our Las Vegas Pool Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious or fatal swimming pool injuries, we understand the difficulties your family is facing. Pool owners are legally responsible for keeping their pools safe. When a guest is injured due to the pool owner’s negligence, they may be able to recover financial compensation for related damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages.
At the Cottle Firm, our experienced Las Vegas hotel injury lawyers are prepared to help you seek the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 702-722-6111 to learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.