Examples of Liability Cases
At a beach owned by a homeowners' association, a
young man who had been drinking dove off the end of a long dock. The water was only three
feet deep, and he hit bottom and was paralyzed.
Because there were no gates, warning signs or depth
markers, the property owners, dock manufacturer and dock installer were found partially
responsible. Now these features have been installed, and will prevent similar accidents
School Pool Accident
In Wisconsin, a 15-year-old boy in physical
class was preparing to swim 25 feet underwater, as part of a test to obtain a swimmer's
card. The instructor asked the students to enter the water by diving from starters' blocks
into the shallow end. The boy hit bottom in the three-foot water, and broke his neck,
resulting in paralysis.
Many parties were liable in this case: the
instructor was clearly negligent, as was the school system. The manufacturer of the
starters' blocks did not place warnings on the blocks, and the installer placed the blocks
improperly in the shallow end of the pool. Because of the lawsuit, changes were made to
improve the safty of the high school pool, and the U.S. Swim Association now requires a
minimum of 4.5 feet of water when placing starters' blocks.
Backyard Pool Accident
A three-year old child in Long Beach, California was
playing in his backyard when the telephone rang. While his mother's attention was
diverted, he fell into the family's swimming pool.
A jury decided that the pool manufacturer was
partially responsible for the drowning, because it did not adequately inform the pool
owner of precautions and safety features that could have prevented the accident. This
legal principle is called "superior knowledge." If the family had known what the
pool company knew, the accident could have been prevented.