What Kinds of Liability Issues Come with Owning a Pool?

What Kinds of Liability Issues Come with Owning a Pool?

Carrie Pallardy
Carrie Pallardy
 | 
Cooling off in a pool during the heat of summertime is one of the season’s greatest pleasures. For many people, the idea of being able to take a dip right in their own backyard is appealing. If you are planning on installing a pool at your home or buying a home with a pool, keep in mind the liability issues that come with the joys of owning a pool.

Pool-Related Accidents
Pools can be a delightful place for you to exercise and for kids to play, but there are a number of potential accidents associated with swimming pools.
  • Slips and falls. Pool decks can easily become wet and slippery. An excited swimmer, kid or adult, can slip and fall on the side of the pool or into the water.  
  • Head injuries. The temptation to dive into a pool can be a strong one, but there is a risk of head injury depending on the depth of the water and how a person dives.
  • Scrapes and cuts. You might not think of a cut or scrape as a common pool-related injury, but there are plenty of ways this might happen. Someone might scrape themselves on the side of the pool or cut themselves on the ladder while entering or exiting the water.
  • Drowning. Drowning is one of the most common concerns associated with owning a pool. A child can drown in minutes, and the signs of drowning are not always obvious. This kind of accident can easily happen if children are swimming unsupervised or swimming with a large group of distracted adults.
Potential Liability
What kind of liability do homeowners have if an injury or death occurs in their pool? First, the question of negligence needs to be determined. Did the homeowner do everything necessary to maintain the pool and the area around it to keep invited guests safe while swimming? State and local laws may dictate exactly what is required for pool maintenance and safety.

What happens if a trespasser decides to take a swim in your pool?
Depending on your state’s laws, you could still be held liable if that uninvited person injures themselves or drowns. This issue can become particularly tricky for homeowners if the trespasser is a child.


Some states consider pools an “attractive nuisance,” a potentially dangerous feature that may attract children. Young children cannot be considered negligent, which means homeowners are likely considered liable if a child sneaks into the pool and ends up injured.

Reducing Liability
Following local and state regulations is the first step to mitigating the risk of potential liability. Does your state or city require pools to be enclosed in a locked fence? Does that fence need to reach a minimum height? What kind of maintenance does the pool need to be in regulatory compliance? Other features, like a safety cover, can help to reduce the risk of any accidents occurring.

What happens if an accident does occur?
Homeowners insurance may include liability coverage related to your pool, but pool owners could consider purchasing
additional coverage. A typical homeowners policy may not include enough liability coverage if an injury or death occurs in the pool.

If someone is injured or dies in your pool, speaking to a lawyer can help you understand your personal liability.

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
Carrie Pallardy

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