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No lifeguard on duty: Are hotels liable for pool area injuries?

Taking a vacation may be a highlight of your year. You may plan, anticipate and mark the days off your calendar until the time to travel arrives. You may have various activities planned, but one of your main relaxation goals relates to lounging poolside at your hotel and taking laps when you need to cool off.

Though you may consider yourself a good swimmer, you likely understand that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. You likely also expect that your hotel pool will host a sign indicating that no lifeguard is on duty and that you swim at your own risk. While this disclaimer may not immediately mean much to you, you may begin to wonder how much weight it holds in the event that you suffer injuries in or around the pool.

Liability

Generally, hotels post signs with the aforementioned information in efforts to prevent owners and operators from being held liable for injuries or deaths that occur in the pool area. Unfortunately, there are many risks that exist around the pool, and if you or a loved one suffers serious injuries, you will likely want someone held responsible.

While having posted warnings may help hotel owners and operators avoid some liability, it does not necessarily mean that they cannot be held accountable under certain circumstances. For instance, if a premises owner or operator tries to refuse all liability, the court will typically find the waiver unenforceable due to its overly broad nature. Additionally, if someone, such as a member of the hotel staff, intentionally carries out an act that results in the injury or death of a person in or around the pool, the hotel could remain responsible.

Negligence

The varying levels of negligence could also impact whether a liability waiver is enforceable. In many cases, if simple negligence resulted in the injury of a pool-goer, a court will likely find the waiver acceptable. However, if extreme acts of negligence, also known as gross negligence, results in your injury or the death of a loved one, the court may still hold the hotel owner and operator liable for that outcome.

Legal action

When liability waivers such as those typically found at hotel pools are a factor in an injury-causing incident, it may seem confusing as to whether you have the ability to file a legal claim against the premises owners or operators. Because many factors may play into a specific case, it could prove useful to have your case evaluated to determine your viable courses of action.

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