By Stephanie Brown, Attorney, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In the Georgia and other states around the nation, there are negligence, liability, or fault laws in place. Some States have more favorable laws and rulings in place that others for children and families seeking compensation for personal injuries / wrongful death than others. A Georgia Court of Appeals decision in June 2008 ruled that the family of a child who drowned and died could not recover compensation from the apartment complex / property owner. The Georgia Court ruled in favor of the apartment complex owner since the Court determined that the child knew or should have known of the danger of the swimming pool when the child entered the apartment complex pool. The Georgia Court put the responsibility of the incident the child rather than the apartment complex. The ruling was made in the case – Rice v. Oaks Investors, II, Georgia Court of Appeals, A08A0434 (June, 26, 2008).
The apartment complex in this case had a duty to provide a safe environment for residents, children, and their guests. When the apartment complex owners decided to offer pool amenities to guests, it had a duty (in our opinion) to maintain a safe environment for children which included putting up reasonable barriers, gates, and locks. Each case should be evaluated on its own merits. It would seem reasonable that the actions of a 6 year old should be judged differently than those of a 17 year old. Due to the flexibility and ambiguity of many laws in Georgia and other States, it makes sense to get an evaluation / consultation from a Georgia child personal injury lawyer / attorney. The facts in a particular case may very well be different than those in the Rice case. Regardless of the civil liability or monetary liability in a particular case, an apartment complex, business, and home should take reasonable precautions to keep children away and out of pools which would include barriers, gates, locks, alarms, signs, and other measures to protect children from serious bodily injury and wrongful death. Children often times lack good judgment and appreciation for dangers. That is why it is so important to keep safety as the primary focus when offering any kind of play / recreational amenity like swimming pools and playgrounds for children.