Apartment complexes can be held liable for drownings that happen in their community pool, but only under certain circumstances. This is how it works:
There is nothing better than relaxing by your apartment's pool on a scorching hot day in Texas. Sadly, sometimes these relaxing days can end in tragedy. A drowning can occur at apartment pools just the same way they can occur at any other pool, and most of the time there are no lifeguards on staff to regulate. Many factors can increase one's likelihood of being a drowning victim. The use of alcohol and the presence of unsupervised children are both causes that have been known to increase the likelihood of tragedy.
Even if one of these factors contributed to your loved one's drowning accident, you may still recover for your loss. All apartments owe their residents a duty of safety that will be discussed throughout this article. If your loved one has drowned or suffered injuries while at an apartment pool, you need to be aware of your rights. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are here to help you get the recovery that you deserve. We have over twenty years of experience in the practice of personal injury law and can provide you with the assistance you need to be successful in your claim.
How Are Apartment Managers Responsible?
Apartment owners and managers owe a duty to provide a safe environment for their residents and their guests. Failure to do this may allow you to recover for your damages. There are several actions that apartments can do or fail to do that may cause them to be liable for injuries.
Protection for Children
Apartments must provide safety measures for their pool in order to keep children safe. Children are the largest age group of drowning victims, and are understandably attracted to pools. Texas enforces this attraction through the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. Under this law, any unsafe situations that may attract children who don't understand the danger of the situation must either be removed from the premises or be held to certain safety standards. In the case of a swimming pool, children don't always understand they may be in danger of drowning. If you'd like to find out more about the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine read here.
The general responsibilities for owning a pool would be actions such as making sure the pools are surrounded by a fence, ensuring that latches are in good working condition, as well as ensuring that their pool complies with the Baker Pool Safety Act, are all required. The Baker act provides that pool drain covers should be used in order to prevent entrapment or entanglement accidents. Other measures that should be taken are signs warning of potential dangers and stating that children should not be left unsupervised. Apartments also have a responsibility to make sure that the pool and pool equipment is properly maintained. If an accident occurs and any of the above measures are not fulfilled, you will likely have a viable claim against the apartment complex.
Protection for Intoxicated Individuals
All the safety provisions that are made available for the protection of children should also be there for the protection of intoxicated individuals. It is not a secret that when you consume alcohol you do not have as good of control over your motor skills as compared to a person that is sober. It is these reasons that apartment complexes must take safety precautions for the protection of these individuals as well. Many apartments have resident events, such as pool parties, where alcohol is served. In these situations the apartment managers have a responsibility to ensure that their residents are not over-served. If they over-serve the resident or the resident otherwise injures themselves when the apartment failed to take a proper safety action, the apartment would again be held liable.
Why are apartments held liable when it sounds like it may be partly the victims fault? The concept of comparative negligence is the reason for this. Comparative negligence is the way of determining if you are able to recover damages, and if so, how much you may recover. Texas operates under the Doctrine of Modified Comparative Fault. Under this doctrine, in order to recover based on comparative negligence, you must be considered less than 51% at fault for the accident, otherwise known as the 51% rule. Find out more about the Doctrine of Modified Comparative Fault.
A jury will determine the level of fault that you have in comparison to the other party. If it is less than 51% you may recover damages in proportion to your level of fault. For instance, if you were in a pool accident at your apartment and the jury determined that you were 45% at fault, you would be able to recover for 55% of your damages.
Even if you think that your injury or loved one's drowning was yours or the victim's fault, you may still have recovery rights in Texas if you are less than 51% at fault. Grossman Law Offices can find a way to get you the recovery that you deserve if there is such a way. Call (855) 326-0000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. We would like to discuss your case with you.