During the summer months, frequenting public pools to cool off is a tradition for many families across the country. Especially in extremely hot states like Texas, public pools can be a godsend for individuals that don’t have pools of their own. However fun they might be, congested public locations can pose safety risks, especially for young children. Moreover, if a public facility fails to properly warn the public about risks associated with their equipment and/or services, or provide proper maintenance to the premises, they could cause severe injury to those that trustingly enter their establishment.
What Could Go Wrong?
Though at first glance, a location might seem safe, this is not always the case. Upon further inspection, small building code violations and other instances of premises neglect reveal themselves. Some of the most common issues that cause premises-related accidents include:
- A lack of signage designating rules, pool conditions (ex. water depth), or safety guidelines.
- Inadequate shelving or other faulty equipment/furniture that guests interact with.
- In public pools, this could mean leaving maintenance equipment out or neglecting to keep the pool area clean.
- Uneven or rough surfaces that cause tripping, especially in environments that involve water. This applies to the pool’s structure, too. For example, a pool with concrete edging or tiling that lift.
- Failing to maintain safety-related features, like railings and ladders that lead out of the pool.
- Failing to place precautionary signs around areas that need maintenance, or areas flooded with water.
Premises liability cases have their basis in the property owner’s negligence. If you suffered an injury caused by any aspect of an establishment that you know the owner is responsible for maintaining, you could have a valid case to file.
What is Comparative Negligence?
As mentioned above, premises liability cases are negligence based. In personal injury law, you must prove how the defendant caused your injuries. Proving negligence typically requires claimants to provide evidence that follows the same cause-effect timeline, no matter the type of personal injury case:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to provide safe services and/or products. In a premises liability case, this means the pool owner was responsible for keeping their facility safe while warning against potential hazards.
- The defendant failed to meet this duty to maintain the plaintiff’s safety. This could be by neglecting pool facility maintenance or put up safety signs.
- The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused the incident that injured the plaintiff. For instance, a guest might trip over uneven tiling in a pool locker room/bathroom. The defendant neglected to fix their facility’s surfaces, causing the plaintiff’s accident.
- The plaintiff sustained verifiable injury. Claimants can prove this by providing their medical records after seeing a physician for their injuries.
Providing different forms of evidence surrounding these four key points builds a strong case on the plaintiff’s behalf.
The state of Texas exercises comparative negligence laws. This means that each party must assume responsibility for their contribution to the accident. Law enforcement, insurance companies, or the court assigns each party a fault percentage that designates the proportion of blame each party possesses. Texas utilizes modified comparative fault, meaning you must possess less than 50% of the fault to file a claim for damages. Individuals that caused more than half the damage in an accident will most likely assume responsibility for their damages and the other party’s damages.
Who is Liable?
In premises liability cases several saving graces could save the owner from liability. For example, posted signs, rules, warnings, or other hazard-related materials throughout the facility could act in their favor when determining if the owner was negligent.
However, if there were no signs designating danger, like a sign warning about broken floor tiles, or other communication about premises safety, the plaintiff will likely possess a rating that allows them to file a claim. This means the facility’s owner is liable for all damages associated with the accident.
When entering any facility, it is the guest’s responsibility to abide by all rules and safety precautions communicated by the property’s owner. However, if they neglect to keep up their facility or provide safety regulations to their guests, they remain liable. This means you should talk to an experienced Dallas personal Injury Lawyer.