Getting to Know the Legal Side of My New Pool
I recently put a pool in my backyard. This was a long time coming. My kids are now well into their teenage years, and the wife and I had been planning to surprise them with more aquatic summer fun for years now. But, finances, setbacks, and other priorities came first, and it’s taken until now to actually put the pool in.
The kids are still grateful, by the way.
But now that I’m a pool owner, I sense I have a new responsibility on my shoulders. I’m now tasked with keeping people safe from what is usually fun but which can always be a dangerous object right in my backyard. I have to make sure my pool is safe for me and for my family. And for who else?
Well, I did a little research. According to a local Connecticut law office, , I’m on the hook for quite a lot.
Perkins says there are three kinds of entrants to a pool and that the kind of entrant determines whether I’m guilty or not.
The first group is really the one that concerns me. Licensees are people who are welcomed to my pool. So, friends of my kids, friends of mine and their kids, perhaps some neighbors who I’m tired of being side-eyed by for not extending an invite sooner. For these people, I have to mention any safety risks and make every effort to keep the pool as safe as possible. Otherwise, in the worst possible scenario, I’m at risk of a lawsuit.
The second group doesn’t really involve me. They’re called invitees (which seems the reverse of what it should be to me, since I “invite” friends and a business “licenses” entrance, but whatever, this is why I’m not a lawyer), and they are people who visit public pools. Whether there’s admission charged or not, if the pool is public, it falls under this category and has certain responsibilities based on that. I suppose I could start charging the neighborhood kids a dollar per swim to get a return on my pool investment, but for now, I don’t think I qualify here.
There’s a final interesting group, trespassers. Here, I’m not responsible for any accidents that occur to hoodlums, unless those hoodlums are minors. In that case, I’m responsible if I haven’t kept the pool relatively up to snuff on the safety front.
So, what does that all mean to me and my pool? (And you to your pool, if you have one and you’re reading this?) It means I need to keep the place clean, safe, slip-free, and perhaps put up a sign or two. Basically, though, I think it means I just need to consider how to keep it safe for my own family and then extend that same level of safety to any visitors, as well as any children who decide to steal a swim in my pool.
That shouldn’t be too hard, I suppose. Although now I’ve thought of it, I may go in for that dollar a swim idea after all.