As summer approaches, those who have swimming pools on their property will soon be getting the pool ready for the hot Maryland summer. While swimming is an important skill for children to learn, and can be an excellent way for older people to engage in a low-impact workout, both of these groups are at a high risk of drowning. Understanding this reality, Maryland lawmakers have heavily regulated the placement and operation of swimming pools in hopes of reducing the number of Maryland swimming pool accidents.
The most common cause of accidental drowning deaths in Maryland swimming pools is a lack of adult supervision. Most of these tragic accidents occur when a child has been unsupervised for less than five minutes. Thus, while supervision is the best preventative measure, additional safety precautions must also be taken.
Under Maryland’s swimming pool regulations, pool owners must obtain a permit to construct, alter, or replace a residential pool. The permit application requires prospective pool owners to obtain detailed plans of the pool, and comply with certain safety features. One of the most important requirements is that the pool is surrounded by a fence that is at least six feet tall and has no opening, other than through an open door, greater than four inches. Interestingly, however, a ladder to get out of the pool is not required under Maryland Code.
There are a number of considerations that must be taken into account when filing a Maryland swimming pool accident lawsuit. One frequently encountered issue is which parties to name in the lawsuit. Of course, the property owner is an obvious party. However, there may be additional parties who are liable. For example, in a recent state appellate decision, the court was tasked with determining whether the company that sold a pool could be held liable for a young child’s drowning death.
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant company sold the pool to the property owner, but did not install it. However, the defendant recommended several other companies that could build and install the pool. The homeowner selected a company from the list provided by the defendant. However, the pool was installed without the proper permitting and in violation of local regulations.
After a young girl drowned in the pool, her grandmother filed a claim against the defendant. The defendant argued that it only sold the pool, and that the installation company was not acting as its agent when it installed the pool. However, the court rejected the defendant’s arguments, finding that a jury may determine the installation company was acting as the defendant’s agent. The court also determined that the defendant may have a duty to vet the companies it recommends to install their pools.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you have a child or older loved one who recently drowned in a Maryland swimming pool accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent clients across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. in swimming pool accident cases, as well as other premises liability claims. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 today.