Canadians say that they are more than ready for their summer barbecues, sunbathing, and for quick dips in the pool. Remember, however, that owning a swimming pool, or a water feature like a pond or hot tub, comes with important responsibilities.
During the hot months, pools can be the perfect way to cool down and enjoy the beautiful summer days. Yes, pools can be a place for fun and lots of splashing but it’s important that we remember and enforce rules to avoid personal injury accident. Not only can a pool be a place for fun, but it can also be a place where brain and spinal injuries, wrongful death, or slip and fall accidents may occur if the proper safety precautions aren’t enforced.
We hear it in the news almost every summer: pool personal injury accidents. According to the Lifesaving Society’s 2011 Drowning Report, nearly 500 Canadians die in water-related accidents annually. These statistics don’t even include those seriously injured from a water related accident. In addition, statistics show that teenagers and young adults at highest risk.
If you own a pool you’re fully responsible for the care and safety of those using it. No matter who is using your pool accidents can happen and if someone is injured or in the worst case dies in your backyard you may be liable. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that you do everything in your power to keep your water zones danger-free.
The best thing you can do to first off is doing everything in your power to make your pool zone a safe place. Using precautionary methods in your backyard to avoid accidents is simple. Here are our suggestions:
1. Install a fence:
Children are naturally curious and will be drawn to a pool or pond, so installing a fence can help you breathe an extra sigh of relief. Additionally, using a gate lock or a hot tub safety cover as a precautionary barrier is an effective way to avoid accidents.
2. Check your insurance policy:
Contact your insurance broker prior to installing a water zone. You need to advise your insurer of any increased risk to ensure that you have protection against liability.
3. Contact your municipality:
Municipalities have different safety regulations; so stay updated on the newest codes and standards.
4. Lay out ground rules:
As the pool owner, it’s important that you ensure that anyone using your pool understands the pool itself and any safety rules. For example, show them where the deeper parts of the pool are, the easiest way to the edges. Also make them aware of any “pool rules”. For example, no running, no diving, no yelling unless it’s an emergency.
5. Always supervise:
No one should ever swim alone in your pool. Regardless of the level of swimming or age, pool accident oftentimes happen very quickly and having someone there supervising can be the difference between life and death. It may seem like the most obvious pool safety tip however: it is the most important.
As a pool owner it’s your responsibility to not only make your pool zone as safe as possible for those using it, but also to be informed about swimming pool laws that regulate the use and ownership. In doing this, you may be able to avoid or limit your liability in the case legal action is pursued, as it shows that you took all the precautionary measures you could to make your pool zone as safe as possible.
Ontario has specific laws in this area in place where the legislation states that a person in control of a property (i.e., a pool) has a duty to ensure that there is reasonable care in place to see that tenants and visitors are reasonably safe. A lawsuit for a pool related accident transpires it may be settled by homeowner’s insurance, which can have coverage to protect homeowners from third party injuries on their property.
Pool users should also be aware of their rights in a water related accident. In the case of wrongful death, brain or spinal injury, or a slip and fall accident you have the right to be compensated for the injuries incurred. If you are seriously injured on someone else’s property where safety precautions were not enforced you have the right to pursue legal action.
Residential, commercial, and public property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property and ensure it is safe. When the property owner does not take reasonable care, the law requires compensation to the victims resulting from negligence. No matter what the negligence is, victims are entitled to compensation under Ontario law.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving someone’s unsafe property in Ontario, Clarke Law can help. As an experienced personal injury lawyer in Toronto, Natalie Clarke has experience dealing with premises liability and occupier’s liability claims involving negligence.
Contact the Clarke Law team today!