Swimming Pool Accident: When Injured Party is at Fault

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Pool owners generally are held to a high standard of liability for damages after a swimming pool accident because they are responsible for keeping the pool area contained and safe for all guests and potential trespassers.  This liability applies to homeowners, hotels, public pools, and any other person or organization that owns and maintains a pool.  Although the rules of liability will make the pool owner at least partially responsible to pay damages to the injured party, occasionally the actions of the injured party that led to the accident can reduce, to some degree, the amount of money the pool owner is responsible for. If you have been injured in a swimming pool accident for which you share part of the blame, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with swimming pool liability law in your state before filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action.

Swimming Pool Liability for Drunken Pool Accidents

Whether or not the injured party’s alcohol consumption alters a swimming pool accident case ultimately depend on how much the drinking and drunken behavior contributed to the injuries. If the alcohol consumption was severe, and the pool was well protected, and the accident was entirely the fault of the injured party, then a jury may find comparative negligence to reduce the liability of the pool owner (providing state law allows it).  If, on the other hand, the conditions around the pool were dangerous, then the pool owner may be fully liable regardless of the drunken condition of the injured party. 

Swimming Pool Liability When Warning Signs are Ignored

If a person is injured after diving in a “no diving” area or swimming “at their own risk,” the pool owner’s liability may be reduced depending on the circumstances and the age of the injured party.  If the injury occurred during a direct and obvious violation of the posted warning, and the person was old enough and mature enough to recognize the dangers articulated by the signs, then the injured party may share in the responsibility.  If a child is injured, their actions will be judged base on the standard of care and knowledge of children of similar age and experience.  The court would also consider the child’s capacity to understand and avoid the danger to which she was exposed by diving into a shallow pool.  As with shared liability of drunken victims, if a pool owner can show the injured party shares liability because they ignored warning signs or known dangers, then the money owed will be reduced in accordance with the liability of the injured party.  In some states, the injured victim may not be able to recover damages at all.

TIP:  The contributing negligence of an injured victim could affect an insurance claim more than a pool injury lawsuit.  If you were responsible for your injuries and are trying to claim insurance money from your insurer or the pool owners, the company will likely point to your actions as a reason to short-pay or deny coverage.  An experienced attorney can be a critical ally in disputes over swimming pool accident liability.

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