Who Is Liable for Public Pool Slip and Falls?

Spending time at a public pool in Washington should not put you or your child at risk of serious injuries due to a slip and fall accident. The authorities in charge of public pool use, maintenance and control have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their visitors. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a public swimming pool, contact the premises liability lawyers at NW Injury Law Center for a free consultation about your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation.

Common Causes of Public Pool Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents send thousands of victims to hospitals throughout the United States each year. Many of these accidents are preventable and caused by unsafe property conditions, such as slippery floors and no posted warning signs. Leading causes of public pool slip and fall accidents include:

  • Poor swimming pool and deck maintenance
  • Wet pool decks or slippery walking surfaces
  • Spilled drinks or sunscreens
  • Lack of warning signs regarding slippery surfaces
  • Pool deck defects, such as a cracked or uneven surface
  • Broken pool stairs or railings
  • Trip and fall hazards, such as clutter
  • Loose or curling rubber mats
  • Missing or broken floor tiles
  • Overly slippery diving board
  • Defective or missing pool equipment
  • Violated state or federal safety regulations
  • Lack of child supervision or lifeguards

Public swimming pools should not contain property defects or unsafe conditions that put visitors at an undue risk of injury. Unfortunately, negligent property maintenance leads to many public pools in Washington with dangerous safety issues that result in pool visitors, including children, suffering serious injuries.

Liability for Public Pool Slip and Fall Accidents

A slip and fall claim can be filed against the owner or controller of a public pool after a preventable slip and fall accident if there is evidence of negligence, or a breach of one or more of the property owner’s legal duties of care. A property owner’s duties of care include:

  • Inspecting the premises for new, unknown or hidden injury hazards.
  • Repairing any discovered property defects, including slip and fall risks.
  • Warning visitors of any known injury risks that may not be obvious to the average person.

In a case involving a public pool, the responsible party (defendant) is the government. Municipal governments are in charge of public swimming pools in Washington. All public water recreation facilities must meet state standards in terms of safety, which include regular inspections by an Environmental Health Specialist. Violating these rules could lead to a lawsuit against a government entity.

How to File a Slip and Fall Claim Against the Government in Washington

Slip and fall accidents that occur at public swimming pools, spas and wading pools in Washington may give an injured victim the right to file a premises liability claim against the city or municipal government. Under Washington’s tort law, injury claims against government entities and their agents must be filed within three years – the standard statute of limitations on all personal injury actions in Washington.

A government tort claim for a public pool slip and fall must begin with a written notice sent to the appropriate government agency. The correct agency to hold accountable will depend on where the swimming pool is located and which government entity has jurisdiction. The tort claim must include the victim’s information, a description of the slip and fall accident, information about the injury diagnosis, and other relevant facts.

Once the government agency receives the claim, it will have 60 days to respond before the victim can proceed with a premises liability lawsuit. If the agency accepts liability for the public pool slip and fall, the case may enter into settlement negotiations. If the claim is denied, however, the injured victim may choose to go to court in pursuit of financial compensation.

For more information about filing a claim against the government in your city for a public pool slip and fall accident, contact NW Injury Law Center to request a free consultation.

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