Forty-four Southern Nevada children under 14 were seriously injured in swimming pool drownings last year, and the Las Vegas suburb is dedicating some time to prevent future incidents.
Area resident Cierra Sonetti “became a medical mom” after her son, Austin, was seriously injured after falling into a backyard swimming pool; doctors estimate that he was under the cover for six to eight minutes. He was permanently disabled, and died two years later. Since the incident occurred on April 23, Henderson officials have made April Pools Day an annual event for the last seven years. Observers say that, to keep pools safe, always designate a full-time adult supervisor, create barriers around the pool, encourage regular users to take swimming lessons, and keep flotation devices readily available.
Firefighters say that children make little noise when they fall into pools, so close supervision is key.
Swimming Pools and Landowner Liability
In most cases, landowners have a high duty of care for people who come onto their property. Most visitors are invitees, because their presence benefits the landowner in some respect. In addition to paying customers and guests, courts have consistently held that most social visitors are invitees, because the landowner benefits from the social interaction that these people offer. Courts have also consistently held that job-seekers, window-shoppers, and other people who do not technically confer an economic benefit, are invitees.
These visitors basically have the legal right to presume that the property is safe. So, a landowner has an affirmative duty to:
- Warn: This duty applies to latent defects, like covered-over wells, loose floorboards, and unsteady stairway railings.
- Make Premises Safe: If the landowner knows or should know about a dangerous condition, like a wet spot on the floor, the owner has the duty to promptly remedy the situation.
In cases involving constructive knowledge (should have known), this element may be established by circumstantial evidence, such as the length of time between the spill and the victim’s fall.
Trespassers and Swimming Pools
In Nevada, persons who are on the land without the owner’s permission are generally entitled to no legal protection at all. But attractive nuisances, like swimming pools, are an exception. The elements of this doctrine are:
- There is a potentially dangerous condition on the property, like a swimming pool in a backyard or horses in a corral,
- The landowner maintained or created the potential hazard,
- That hazard was likely to attract children, and
- Children could be injured.
Damages in a negligence case include compensation for both economic losses, like medical bills, and noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages are also available.
Reach Out to a Feisty Lawyer
Landowners must keep their premises safe for their social or business guests. For a free consultation with an aggressive personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. You have a limited amount of time to act.