Outdoor pools, spas, and whirlpools are among the items the average child find’s irresistibly alluring. Children who discover the presence of a pool, spa, or whirlpool in a neighbor’s backyard are highly likely to attempt to gain access to it if not prevented by a fence, gate, or other protective enclosure.
The dangers to small children of pools and other water-containing structures are so well-known and acknowledged that communities generally enact strict requirements regarding the erection of fences or other protective devices designed to prevent a child’s access to any sort of outdoor pool. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a child can drown in a pool or spa within a matter of minutes and without anyone even being aware of the child’s presence in the pool. When parents or other child supervisors fail to keep an adequate watch on a small child or when homeowners fail to erect the required deterrents to children’s access to a pool, disastrous and irreversible consequences may result.
In some cases, homeowners have erected fences and gates in strict compliance with applicable requirements, but defects in fencing or the gates installed in such fencing may nevertheless allow a child to enter a pool without the awareness of the homeowner or the child’s parents. In these cases, the manufacturer or designer of the fence or gate may be responsible for a child’s injuries if those injuries are determined to have been caused by the child’s access to a pool due to a defective pool fence or gate.
In January 2014, Trident Pool Gate Latches manufactured by Nationwide Industries were recalled for a defect in the gate latch that failed to keep the pool gate closed. The gate latches consisted of a latch assembly with a magnetic “striker” from which the magnet could come loose, preventing the latch from securing the gate and thereby allowing children to gain access to a pool.
If your child has been injured or killed in a fatal or non-fatal drowning accident as a result of a defect in a pool fence or gate the failure of a homeowner to erect a protective fence and/or gate around a pool, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries or death. Nationally-recognized child-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino and his team of accident lawyers, injury lawyers, personal-injury lawyers, child-injury lawyers, child-accident lawyers, wrongful-death lawyers, child brain-injury lawyers, and defective children’s products lawyers have extensive experience with a wide variety of child-injury cases, including those arising out of drowning and other pool accidents. Attorney Killino is especially committed to obtaining justice for children who have been injured through someone’s negligence or a defective product. Contact Attorney Killino and his dedicated team of lawyers for expert assistance with your case.
Legal Liability for Injuries Caused by Defective Pool Gates or Fencing or Property-owner Negligence
The laws of many states and local communities require homeowners and others who erect pools on their premises to erect and maintain pool fences that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications standards along with gates with latches and locks that adequately prevent a child from opening the gate. When homeowners fail to erect fences and gates that meet applicable regulations, the failure to do so may be determined to constitute negligence per se on the part of the homeowner or other individual or entity on whose land a pool is located.
Negligence per Se of Owner or Operator of Pool
When a homeowner or other individual or entity who owns and/or operates an outdoor pool has failed to erect the fencing or gates around the pool required by local law, the duty of care owed to a child injured as a result of the failure to comply with such laws as well as the breach of the duty of care are considered to have been established through evidence of the failure to comply with the fencing and gate requirements. In other words, the owner’s negligence (or breach of a duty of care owed to another) does not need to be otherwise proven by the plaintiff; it has been established per se (a Latin term that means “by, through, or in itself”).
Even when the duty and breach elements of a negligence action have been established through negligence per se, however, a plaintiff in such an action will still be required to establish the injury, causation, and damages elements of a negligence action in order to recover from the defendant.
Strict Liability of Manufacturer or Designer of Defective Fence or Gate
Though product-liability actions may generally be brought as negligence, breach of warranty, or strict-liability claims, claims brought to recover for injuries caused by defects in a product are generally brought as strict-liability claims. Such claims allow a plaintiff who has been injured by a defective product to recover damages from the manufacturer and others in the product’s chain of distribution even in the absence of negligence on the part of any such defendant. If, for example, a pool fence or latch is determined to contain a defect in its design or manufacture, or if the product did not come with adequate warnings or instructions, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution may be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries determined to have resulted from the gate or fence defect. In the case of the Nationwide Industries pool gate latches recalled by the CPSC, the magnet component of the “striker” assembly may be determined to be either a design or manufacturing defect.
Obtain Expert Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino
If your child has been injured or killed in a pool or outdoor spa accident as a result of someone’s negligence or a defective pool fence or gate, nationally-recognized child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino will fight on your behalf to obtain the justice to which you and your family are entitled. Attorney Killino and his team of accident attorneys, injury attorneys, personal-injury attorneys, child-injury attorneys, child-accident attorneys, wrongful-death attorneys, child brain-injury attorneys, and defective children’s products attorneys will provide you with expert assistance in seeking compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries or death.