Defective Pool Fence Gate Lawyers
Handling Cases Nationwide
An integral part of any fence is a gate – a means of accessing what is inside the fence from the outside (and vice versa). Most property owners who construct fences use gates to help them control who can enter the fence and who cannot. Pool owners are no different. Building appropriate fences and gates is an important step that a pool owner or property owner with a body of water on his or her property can take to protect children from injuries and him- or herself from legal liability.
What Type of Gate is Necessary Around a Pool or Other Body of Water?
Fences that surround pools and other bodies of water need to be constructed so as to make it difficult for children to go over, under, or through a fence and access the pool or water. Gates need to be equally strong and effective at deterring children. A strong and stable fence is of little use if the gate of the fence is weak and easily opened. To be effective, a gate should:
- Be constructed of the same or better materials as the fence and maintained regularly;
- Be low enough to the ground that children cannot slip underneath the gate and high enough that children cannot climb over the fence;
- Be locked or monitored so that trespassers and others not authorized to use the pool or water cannot access the pool or water through the gate.
Is a Property Owner Legally Liable for my Child’s Injuries?
If your child is injured in a pool accident, drowning or near-drowning incident, the pool owner may be responsible for compensating you if he or she did not take sufficient preventative measures to keep children from accessing the pool or water. This requires an evaluation of the strength and quality of the fence and especially the gate surrounding the pool. A gate may be found to be insufficient – and the pool owner liable as a result – if the gate:
- Is not properly attached to the fence and it is easily removable from its hinges;
- Is too low or too high off of the ground so that children can easily go over or under the gate;
- Is not securely latched or locked in such a manner that a child can easily open the gate;
- Is structurally weak.
Following your child’s injuries, try and take pictures of the gate and fence that surrounded the pool. If possible, do so before the pool owner has an opportunity to make repairs or improvements to the fence or gate. You should also talk to other neighbors who have children to learn if other children have been able to easily access the pool owner’s pool in spite of the fence and gate. All of this information can be helpful in establishing whether the fence and gate installed and maintained by the pool owner were sufficient to deter and protect children.
What Sort of Fence Should Be Used Around Pools and Other Bodies of Water on Private Property?
Some property owners believe that all that is needed to protect them from legal liability in the event of a drowning or near-drowning incident is to have a sign posted near the water indicating that the pool or other body of water can be dangerous or that trespassers are prohibited. Some may take what they consider the extraordinary step of placing a simple rope around the pool or body of water. None of these steps are sufficient to shield a property owner from legal liability, however – especially if a child wanders onto the property and becomes injured.
When it comes to children and water, the law recognizes that children appear to be drawn to pools and other bodies of water and are at an increased risk of being injured thereby. Under the doctrine of “attractive nuisance,” therefore, a property owner must take additional measures to protect children from the dangers of a pool or body of water on his or her property. This usually means the construction of a fence that is:
- Tall enough that children cannot climb over it or would be dissuaded from attempting to climb over the fence;
- Built low enough to the ground that children cannot scurry under the fence;
- Constructed so that children cannot slip through the fence;
- Built with a sufficient foundation that the fence cannot be toppled; and
- Maintained well enough that the fence continues to serve as an obstacle to children who may want to use the pool or body of water.
What Should I Do if My Child Drowns or Suffers Injuries Around Another Person’s Pool?
Your immediate concern after your child is injured or drowns is seeking immediate medical attention for your child. Your child’s health is paramount. Once your child’s injuries have been treated, however, there are additional steps you should take in order to protect your legal rights and help your child drowning and near-drowning accident attorney determine if the property owner is responsible for the incident:
Take photographs of the pool and fence area
Try to do so as soon as possible after the incident and before the owner has an opportunity to repair or replace an inadequate or failing fence.
Speak with others
Speak with others in the neighborhood who also have children who may be able to wander onto the property and access the pool. This testimony can help establish that the measures taken by the property owner were not sufficient.
See if anyone witnessed the incident
Their testimony would be vitally important as they can describe how easily your child was able to access the pool.
Contact Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation regarding a drowning or near-drowning incident caused by a defective pool. Our defective pool fence attorneys will review the evidence you are able to collect and analyze the facts of your case. Where a property owner has built or maintained an inadequate fence around his or her pool, we may be able to help you recover compensation for injuries your child sustained in a drowning or near-drowning incident.