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Can you hold a property owner liable for a pool-hopping injury?

With summer comes an increase in often-careless behavior by young people with time on their hands. One such activity is something called "pool hopping." Kids go from home to home, usually at night, and take a swim in other people's pools. Often this is done in affluent communities where many people have their own pools. However, sometimes they'll sneak into public pools when they're closed.

What if your teen is injured while pool hopping? Can you hold the property owner liable? Generally, it's difficult to hold a homeowner liable for injuries if the injured person was trespassing, since that person was breaking the law.

When property owners are aware that they have frequent trespassers, however, they should take precautions to prevent access to the pool. This may be easier for owners of apartment buildings, gyms and other properties who can fence in and lock their pool areas than for individual homeowners whose pools are often in the back yard. However, if, given the circumstances, a court determines that the property owners didn't take adequate precautions to secure the pool, you may be able to hold them liable.

If a younger kid is injured under similar circumstances, however, the property owner may be more easily held liable under the "attractive nuisance" doctrine. The idea is that children may not have the judgment to appreciate that what they're doing is wrong. Although this doctrine generally applies only to trespassing children, in a 2013 case, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that any child, trespassing or not, can bring an attractive nuisance claim.

If your child, regardless of his or her age or the circumstances, is injured in another property owner's pool, it may be worthwhile to consult an experienced Colorado premises liability attorney. He or she can help you determine what your legal options are.

Source: FindLaw, "Pool Hopping Injuries: Who's Liable?," Aditi Mukherji, JD, accessed June 09, 2016

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