Summertime in South Carolina means families and kids are looking to beat the heat. One of the popular pastimes in the summer months is hanging out by the swimming pool. When properly supervised, a day out by the pool can be a great family experience. But what about improper supervision or a pool that presents a dangerous condition?
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 163 children died as a result of drowning in pools and spas throughout the United States last year. Clearly, there is room for improvement to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in future years. It’s important to understand what may constitute a cause of action resulting from a pool-related injury or death.
Premises Liability Cases in South Carolina
Claims that result from swimming pool accidents fall under premises liability and are often a result of a homeowner’s failure to maintain their property in a safe manner. Like other states, South Carolina law dictates that all property owners are legally responsible to keep their properties maintained and free from defects. If a homeowner breaches that duty and is negligent, they may be sued if someone is injured while on his or her property.
Swimming Pool Owners
In South Carolina, pool owners have a duty to ensure small children cannot access the pool while walking around unattended. You need to properly mark off shallow areas so no one attempts to dive in that area. The area around the pool must also be properly maintained to ensure someone doesn’t slip and fall around the pool itself. Lastly, pool owners must keep the pool cleaned so no one becomes sick after swimming in it.
The Law of Attractive Nuisance
The theory of attractive nuisance developed out of a need to protect child trespassers. Initially, the law of negligence placed no duty on a homeowner to protect someone trespassing; however, there was a hole in the law when it came to children who didn’t have the capacity to understand and identify dangers. The Law of Attractive Nuisance deals with the artificial creation of something — like a pool — that is especially attractive to children. The owner has to take precautions to make sure that the dangerous item in question is well-guarded so a child will not be injured.
Pool Safety Tips
There are tips you can follow to keep children safer in and around swimming pools. Pools and spas should have a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. In lieu of fencing, use a lockable cover that can support a weight of at least 150 lbs. When you are having a pool party, have a designated person to keep watch at all times. Ensure your children know how to swim and that someone is knowledgeable in CPR for both adults and children.
When You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
If your child was injured in a swimming pool accident, you need to speak with a qualified South Carolina personal injury attorney. Premises liability and attractive nuisance claims are complex, and you need an attorney who understands the nuances of this type of litigation. Contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm and let one or our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys help determine the best course of action.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.