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What is the homeowner's liability if a trespasser uses their pool (and gets injured) while the homeowner is away?

Last year we were on vacation and upon our return, we found our pool light on and a dolphin float floating in our in-ground pool. We had family (my parents) check on our pool a few times and they did not notice any of those things when they were there. We believe our neighbors either picked the lock on our gate or climbed the fence and had a party in our yard. The neighbor we suspected kind of told my husband in a joking way about a big party they had in our yard last summer while we were away. My husband was in mixed company at the time and did not know how to respond. We are going on vacation a few times this summer and are concerned that they may try to use our pool again this summer. We bought and installed an improved locking system and are hoping this will keep them out. What is our liability if they use our pool again while we are away and someone gets hurt or worse, drowns?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 6:07 PM on Jun. 30, 2009 in Home & Garden

Answers (10)
  • call your insurance co and make sure what it is. Don't tell them it already happened in the past though
    admckenzie

    Answer by admckenzie at 6:10 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Most homeowners insurance don't care if you are home or even if you gave permission. It's your home so it's your responsibility.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:10 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • My mother had this issue. Neighbor kids hopped fence and went in pool while she was at work. Unfortunatly my mom looked into it and yes, you are liable. It's a bunch of BS since they are trespassing. I guess it just comes with the responsibility of having a pool. I still don't think it's right. But check your homeowners insurance policy anyway.
    Steff107

    Answer by Steff107 at 6:11 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I know where I live, that as long as you have a fence around your pool with a lock, if someone breaks in and uses the pool and gets hurt, the owner's have absolutely no liability because it is considered a form of breaking and entering. I would assume that probably applies to where you live as well. Before you leave I would take a picture of the lock, locked on the gate, take a picture of everything around the pool just as you leave it so that you have proof that the gate was locked, so if something was to happen, you couldn't get in trouble.
    Ash9724

    Answer by Ash9724 at 6:12 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • As long as your pool is locked up and or may have a gate around you are not responsible.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:17 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Oh put up a no trespassing sign as well and take a picture of it so the date is on the pic.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:20 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Is it possible for you to ask a family member or close friend to stay at the house while you are away? We do this sometimes for my in-laws. That way if someone is coming and going the neighbors my be less inclined to sneak in and try to use it. If you know who it is, why not talk to them directly? Let them know that you don't feel comfortable with people using your pool while you are away. I suppose you could even set up a video camera so that you can see when you come back if anyone used it and who it was.
    beckcorc

    Answer by beckcorc at 8:32 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I think it depends on where you live, but I know that here, as long as there is a fence around the pool with a locked gate and at least one "no trespassing" sign posted on the outside facing side of your fence that can be seen from the front, back & each side, then no, you are not liable for someone being injured while you are away. It wouldn't be any different than if they broke into your house & got hurt while trying to steal your TV. If your insurance says otherwise, then you can always press charges against the person; At the very least, ppl will think twice before using your pool while you are away.

    Having a house sitter would be best, but If you can't get one and you are concerned that your neighbors will use the pool again, then maybe you could put the pool cover on and make sure it is tied down tight? This way, no debris will collect in your pool while you are gone and nobody else can swim in it either.
    mom2aspclboy

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 9:29 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Check with your home owners insurance company. My neighbors have a gate around their pool and a locked deck and they are still responsible if someone goes into their pool without permission. I don't think it matters is the pool is locked, gated, fenced in,etc as the homeowner you are responsible.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:42 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I'd drain it. just to be a smart a**. Swim in this butthead!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:29 AM on Jul. 1, 2009

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