The death of a child is a nightmare for anyone, especially if that child is your own. The stress inherent in that nightmare is understandably magnified if the death of the child is both someone else’s kid–and your fault. If your child drowns in someone else’s pool under any circumstances, then that means someone was likely negligent and liable for anything that happens on that property. A homeowner is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of their own pool, and so yes: you can sue for wrongful death if your child drowns in a neighbor’s pool. But is it as simple as that?
First of all, if you own a pool then be sure to keep it safe. Drowning ranks high on the list of causes for unintentional death, and you don’t want to contribute to such a sad and unreasonable statistic.
One of the factors that can either mitigate or complicate such a legal issue is the obvious circumstance of probable trespassing. Because the person in question is a child, however, this is less likely to complicate a lawsuit. Even so, if you intend to sue for wrongful death, then be prepared for counter-litigation depending on the circumstances. Your legal representation can help get you up to speed on any local or state laws that might apply in your situation, and prepare you for different outcomes, however likely they are to arise.
If someone did drown while trespassing, liability generally falls on the trespassing party unless the property owner knows that people frequently come onto the property. If this happens routinely, and a neighbor is aware that his or her pool is being used during these unauthorized visits, and they still don’t keep the grounds safe, then they may still be held liable.
If your child is a guest at a neighbor’s pool, it’s a very different story.
If there is an obvious danger, the neighbor is responsible for making any guest aware of it. Failure to do so can result in a claim of negligence. The neighbor is also responsible for repairing or fixing the conditions which make it unsafe. If your neighbor owns an above ground pool, and doesn’t put the ladder up, then your child may have climbed the ladder and stumbled in the pool. This is an example of negligence that you can use in court. In many cases, there is no requirement to prove negligence because the state laws override it.
No matter what, it’s important to know what your child is up to and where. If your child drowns in a neighbor’s pool, then you should retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to decide whether or not you have a wrongful death claim that can be filed.