A Cool Pool

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Q: My friend owned a house with an in-ground rectangular-shaped swimming pool. In the deep end, the walls below the water line were not vertical. Rather, they slanted inward toward the center of the bottom. There was no marking to show that the walls slanted. Although the pool did not have a diving board, there were no signs warning that diving was prohibited. I had never swum there before, was not familiar with the pool, and had not noticed the slant of the deep-end wall. From the side, I dove in. On the slanted portion of the deep end wall, I struck my head.

A: The owner of a private residential swimming pool has a duty to maintain the pool in a reasonably safe condition. A landowner also has the duty to warn of potentially dangerous conditions that are not readily observable.

Your attorney will contend that the slanted walls were dangerous and that your friend had notice (a) that the walls slanted inward toward the center and (b) that the depth was not marked. Your friend’s attorney may well respond that (a) he lacked notice that the pool was unsafe for diving, (b) the accident was caused by an error in your judgment, and (c) you assumed the risk of injury.

So long as the accident happened some time after construction of the pool was completed, it should be relatively easy for you to establish that your friend indeed had (a) notice of the condition and (b) sufficient time to remedy it. It does not sound like your conduct was the sole proximate cause of your injuries. As for the doctrine of ‘primary assumption of risk’, it applies only to a commonly-appreciated risk that is inherent in, and arises out of, the recreational activity in which you were engaged. Your attorney will note that slanted walls are neither inherent nor common.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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