As summer’s heat descends on parishes across Louisiana, countless people seek refuge in backyard swimming pools. The majority of these fun times will end without incident, as people splash and swim to their heart’s content, get out, dry off and then go about their lives.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents and injuries occur. These can be everything from near-drowning to broken bones (often happening if people dive into too-shallow pools or slip while running around the slippery surrounding area). Even more tragically, sometimes deaths occur in backyard pools. These are particularly common among children, who’ll fall into a pool or hot tub while unsupervised and be unable to get out.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a backyard swimming pool belonging to another person (while visiting a friend or loved one, for example), you may be wondering who’s liable for the costs associated with your injuries. Will your health insurance cover the expenses? Will your host’s homeowners’ insurance be responsible? Sometimes, these questions are difficult to answer.
Many people don’t realize that swimming pools might not be covered by some homeowners’ policies. There could be an exclusion that prevents insurance from being responsible for injuries related to the pool. Furthermore, damage to the pool – such as from a storm or vandalism – is likely not covered without an additional rider and associated cost.
Should the policy actually cover the pool (and injuries associated with it), a claim will likely fail unless proper pool safety procedures are followed. These include:
- Gating off the pool when not in use
- Installing alarms to alert when the pool is accessed
- Installing childproof locks on both the pool’s gate and doors leading to it
- Not having a diving board or slide unless the pool is of a sufficient depth and is a permanent structure (not a self-supported, soft-sided pool)
- Having the pool installed by a professional