Swimming Pools, Attractive Nuisance Lawsuits and Your Child: What You Need to Know
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Aug 2017
- Personal Injury,
The term “attractive nuisance” may sound downright ridiculous. What could it possibly have to do with swimming pools? Moreover, you may be wondering how the two impact your child. Read on. We have some valuable information.
Swimming pools are wonderful, right? In addition to providing cooling comfort during the summer months, they offer kids with much-needed exercise and social interaction. Sometimes, however, swimming pools can end up threatening the lives of children they’re meant to enrich. This is especially true if the property owner fails to meet basic safety and anti-negligence criteria.
Quite frankly, it’s amazing, and downright scary, how quickly a pool can go from being a summer amusement to an “attractive nuisance”. In case you’re not clear on the definition of an attractive nuisance, it’s anything overtly harmful that seems intriguing. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a landowner can be held responsible if a child is injured by one of these conditions.
If you’re shaking your head thinking that swimming pool aren’t that common, you might be disturbed by a national statistic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have claimed 3.536 lives between 2005- 2014.
Why Does the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Exist?
The attractive nuisance law is meant to protect children from their sometimes-dangerous levels of curiosity. The CDC also reports that 20 percent of Americans who die from drowning are under the age of fourteen. Even more alarming is that children ages one to four suffer the highest rates of swimming pool injuries or deaths.
Even non-fatal swimming pool accidents can lead to serious long-term health problems, such as memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, loss of oxygen to the brain and superficial injuries (broken bones, sprained limbs, ETC.). If the drowning-related injury results in brain damage, the overall cost of medical treatment can often stretch into the millions.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine puts the onus on property owners to ensure they have set up proper protection to avoid harm. Children of all ages think of a swimming pool as fun. Unfortunately, easy access makes it an attractive nuisance. Landowners know they have a duty to protect or may be responsible for damages.
What Kinds of Swimming Pool Accidents are Potential Lawsuits?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an overwhelming majority of drowning deaths occur in residential pools. This includes neighbors’ pools. Sometimes this risk can be remedied by simply placing a lock on a fence or adequate barriers around the pool area, which many property owners fail to do. In order to meet the attractive nuisance doctrine standards, the following conditions must be proven:
- The landowner knows that children are likely to trespass on their property
- There is a condition on the property that can cause death or serious injury to children
- The victims of the injury are too young or inexperienced to understand risk of action
- Cost of remedying risk is minimal compared to risk to children
- The landowner fails to take reasonable measures to eliminate risk
The short answer to determining whether you can make an attractive nuisance claim is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney. An investigation of the facts will provide answers regarding whether or not a case exists.