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Protecting Yourself From a Swimming Pool Accident

If you are the owner of a backyard pool, you may want to keep a few safety precautions in mind when you have guests visit. In this video, Preszler lawyer John Philp appears on the Morning Show to share some insights into how you might protect yourself from a swimming pool accident. For any questions, or if you would like to discuss the specific needs of your case, contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-JUSTICE today.

LIZA: Thank you Liam. Well, as you just heard, we’re in the dog days of summer, and in this heat wave we’re in, a lot of people are diving into their swimming pools to cool off. But who’s responsible if someone gets injured swimming in your backyard pool? John Philp from Preszler Law is here to talk about that. Good morning.

JOHN: Thanks for having me again.

LIZA: We were just chatting, I said, I love swimming but pools make me nervous when they’re your own pool and your own backyard, it just seems like it opens up the possibility for a lot of trouble.

JOHN: This is, this is a great topic, and inevitably, a couple times a summer we get phone calls at our office of people seriously injured because of a pool mishap in their backyard. As a homeowner, you are the one who has the ultimate responsibility if someone is injured in your swimming pool. And that can be devastating emotionally, but also financially. If you don’t have enough insurance that would cover this type of injury, um, you’re looking at some pretty serious consequences to yourself and your family.

LIZA: And since you mentioned insurance, talk about for a second, and the way that you can get quite a sizeable amount of coverage for not too much money.

JOHN: Yeah, well, typically what we see with swimming pool injuries is it’s usually a spinal cord injury, some sort of uh, you know, person, is - dove into the pool, not expecting it to be a certain depth, and didn’t judge it properly - neck, back injuries are very common. Uh, which can result in someone becoming a parapeligic, or quadriplegic even, and these types of claims are very serious. And usually, people, for their homeowner’s insurance, have a million dollars in place. Um, for that type of injury, it’s going to go beyond that million dollar policy limit very quickly. So typically, insurance companies don’t really like you to know this, so this is a little secret that I’m going to share with you. There’s called an umbrella policy. So if you have your homeowner’s insurance and your auto insurance with the same company, you can approach your broker and say, look, I’d like to get an umbrella policy, which means that you can get up to about five million dollars in coverage for both your vehicle and your home. And five million dollars goes a lot farther than a million dollars in these types of injury claims involving swimming pools. 

LIZA: So are you on the hook regardless of the circumstances, if it happens in your pool, on your property?

JOHN: Well, no, I - listen, we’ve talked about this many times before, Liza, and it always depends on the circumstances for a personal injury case. But, as a homeowner, you have to take certain precautions to make sure that your pool is safe. For example, if it’s a shallow pool, you have to put signs up that say “No Diving,” and that has to be very clear. You know, having one sign behind a potted plant that says “No Diving” is not going to be sufficient if someone injures themselves diving into your shallow pool. You have to take reasonable steps in the circumstances. And the same law that we’ve talked about in previous situations, the home - or, sorry, the Occupiers’ Liability Act, is also applicable here, and it requires that homeowners take reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure the safety of people attending at their property.

LIZA: Right. And that was - let’s say you have teenage kids, you’re not home, they have a party, someone gets hurt in the pool and you’re not even there.

JOHN: Yeah.

LIZA: The same rules apply, if you put up signs and things, and -

JOHN: Yeah, absolutely, and you know, alcohol is always - well, not always, but very often a factor in these sort of circumstances, and, you know, that can factor into who’s at fault for the accident. For example, if someone’s very intoxicated, goes swimming in your pool, and injures themselves, they’re going to have a certain degree of responsibility for their own injuries. But again, as the homeowner, you’re also gonna very likely share in that responsibility as well. 

LIZA: All right, John Philp from Preszler Law, thanks again, good to see you. 

JOHN: Always a pleasure.

LIZA: We’re going to take a look at traffic now. Here’s Kim.
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