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Why You (Legally) Need a Fence Around Your Swimming Pool

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Why You (Legally) Need a Fence Around Your Swimming Pool

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Aside from being a smart and safe thing to do, putting a fence around your pool can help is a legally savvy maneuver. This is due to a common-law doctrine in Georgia: the “attractive nuisance” standard. What is this law? It’s the mandate protecting children from injury or even death when venturing into someone else’s property without permission. This applies to everything from playhouses to playgrounds and, yes, swimming pools.

“Attractive Nuisance” Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Georgia law states that a “lawful possessor of land owes no duty of care to a trespasser except to refrain from causing a willful or wanton injury.” However, the “attractive nuisance” common law still stands and isn’t altered by the current statute for the sake of children. This is because a swimming pool can be dangerous to children. So can trampolines and other devices that would be “attractive” to a child. You, therefore, would want to fence in your backyard with a swimming pool as an exercise of caution to not only protect your own interests, but those children who might be tempted by the pool. This means you could be held legally responsible for whatever happens if your swimming pool is that accessible. By failing to block your swimming pool to neighborhood children, the law argues, you are allowing an injury or death to occur. Therefore, you can be held liable in the event of personal injury or wrongful death involving your own swimming pool. This was defined in the case of Gregory v. Johnson in the Georgia Supreme Court of Georgia, which determined the five elements that would be necessary to satisfy the condition of the “attractive nuisance”:

  1. The place where the condition exists is one upon which the possessor knows or has reason to know that children are likely to trespass, and….
  2. The condition is one of which the possessor knows or has reason to know and which he (or she) realizes or should realize will involve an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to such children, and….
  3. The children because of their youth do not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in intermeddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it, and….
  4. The utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children involved, and….
  5. The possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children.

The “attractive nuisance” doctrine applies when all five of the above conditions are met.

The “Attractive Nuisance” Law Doesn’t Apply to Every Age Group

Interestingly enough, the law doesn’t specifically state an age limit, cap or allowance. It simply states “children trespassing.” It’s all the more reason to exercise as much caution as possible and simply build a fence around your pool.

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