Can a release be signed which holds a homeoner harmlessfrom liability regarding any injury suffered by children playing on the owner’s trampoline and above-ground pool?

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Can a release be signed which holds a homeoner harmlessfrom liability regarding any injury suffered by children playing on the owner’s trampoline and above-ground pool?

The pool is above ground and 4 ft deep with locked door ladder but children could find something to stand on to get in pool. Also, what if no one is home and they jump fence and get in pool and get injured?

Asked on August 21, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately, a release like that will almost certainly not be effective, since children are not able to release liability (they are under the age of majority, and cannot contract) and courts limit the extent or degree to which their parents can release liability on their behalf. Your best bet is to take all reasonable precautions--like looking the ladder/door; putting a fence around the pool as well, or around your yard, with a locking gate; never inviting children to use the facilities unless you are there with them (if at all--you don't ever have to let them in, of course). Liability for the homeowner generally depends on the degree to which the homeoner did not take precautions to prevent use by children; if you take all reasonable precautions, you are not likely to be liable because a particularly determined child trespasser managed to circumvent them.


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