Posts Tagged ‘pool drowning’

Your Responsibility as a Tucson, Arizona Pool Owner

“Two-year old found in neighbor’s pool identified.” “Toddler wanders away, nearly drowns in neighbors pool.” “Virginia Beach man tears down pool after toddler neighbor is found in it.” “Dearborn toddler dies after drowning in neighbor’s pool.” “Five year old drowns in neighbor’s pool.” These are all headlines from the past two months of this year. Owning a swimming pool in Tucson, AZ in the dead of summer is a real luxury, but it is also one that comes with grave legal responsibility. As the headlines suggest, in-ground pools are a hazard to everyone, and there is no telling when a child could accidentally fall in and drown. Because of the unfortunate number of children who have been victims of swimming pool drowning, Arizona has cracked down on pool owners and increased their legal obligation to their neighbors, their neighbors’ children, and their own families. Arizona’s Pool Requirements According to A.R.S. § 36-1681, Arizona homeowners with one or more children below the age of 6 must have a pool enclosure of a wall, fence, or other barrier surrounding their entire pool. The fence must be at least five feet high, and at least 20 inches from the edge of the pool. The openings in the fence cannot be greater than four inches other than at the doors and gates. All gates in the pool’s enclosure must open outward from the pool and be self-latching. The latch must be no lower than 54 inches from the ground, but it cannot be less than five inches from the top of the gate. However, if the locking mechanism is a padlock or other device requiring a key or code, the latch may be located at any height on the gate. While not specifically stated in the new code, the state of Arizona strongly recommends against leaving a pool gate propped open for people to come and go as they please, nor should they leave items around the gate which children can use to climb over it. What is the Pool Owner Liable For? It is the responsibility of the pool owner to act with reasonable care, and to do what any reasonable individual would do who owns a pool. Failure to act with reasonable care could result in a negligence suit should one of the neighbors, or even a guest, hurt him or herself as a result of improper security surrounding the pool or a failure to keep the pool area safe and free from hazards. A homeowner can keep their pool and the surrounding area safe and free from hazards by:
  • Ensuring that all slippery surfaces surrounding the pool are covered in a non-slip material;
  • Cleaning up puddles as soon as they are brought to their attention;
  • Ensuring that the gate is closed and locked at all times when the pool is not in use;
  • Ensuring that no scalable objects are near or against the fence when they are not around; and
  • Covering the pool with a hard cover when not in use.
Unfortunately, the homeowner is still liable should an uninvited guest – such as a neighbor’s child or toddler – wander onto their property and into their pool without their knowledge, even if they took all of the proper safety measures. This is thanks to the attractive nuisance loophole, which basically states that a homeowner can be liable for the injuries or death of a young trespasser if there is an object on the property that attracts children. Common examples of an attractive nuisance are playgrounds and pools. Additionally, if a pool owner fails to adhere to Arizona’s pool requirements as laid out in A.R.S. § 36-1681, the victim and/or the victim’s family would not need to prove negligence, as failure to comply with a protective law would make them strictly liable for any injuries sustained in or around their pool. When to Consult a Personal Injury Attorney At Hofmann Law Offices, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in determining negligence in a personal injury suit or wrongful death case. If you or a loved one were injured or killed as a result of your neighbor’s failure to adhere to pool safety rules and guidelines, our legal team can help you successfully navigate personal injury law and achieve the damages you rightly deserve. To schedule a consultation with our personal injury team today, call us at 1-520-797-1041 or 520-797-5674, or contact us online today.

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