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Inadequate pool safety may lead to premises liability lawsuit

As summer approaches, Virginians will undoubtedly gather with friends and family at backyard pools. While these occasions are normally joyous, it is important to be aware of essential pool safety precautions and what can be done when a failure to abide by those safety measures results in harm.

Virginia property owners have the responsibility to maintain safe property conditions for their invited guests, which includes those visitors they may entertain poolside. Under the rules of negligence, they must behave with the utmost care in maintaining safe premises and preventing hazardous conditions. A property owner who negligently maintains his or her pool may be liable if a person suffers an injury on his or her property under the theory of premises liability.

There are numerous ways that a property owner can create a safe environment for his or her guests. The installation of a four foot fence around a pool, as well as the use of self-closing and self-latching gates can drastically improve pool safety and prevent young children from being able to access a pool. Pools should be properly covered when appropriate, and drain covers should be functioning properly. Above-ground pools should not have steps or ladders for access, and there should always be appropriate life-saving equipment available for both above-ground and in-ground pools. Failure to take these steps may mean that a property owner has acted negligently in maintaining his or her premises.

A Virginian who has been injured at another's pool due to a property owner's failure to maintain safe premises may wish to consult with an attorney regarding his or her legal rights and options. A successful claim can help shine a light on this little talked about issue and, possibly, lead to the recovery of much needed compensation.

Source: FindLaw, "Swimming Pool Liability: Pool Safety is Key," Stephanie Rabiner, June 14, 2011

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