Defective Pool Gates

Drowning Accident Attorney Representing Victims in Maryville and East Tennessee

Swimming pools may be a source of great pleasure in East Tennessee. However, many people, especially children, drown each year. Pool safety is not only about lifeguards but also about safety measures taken around the clock, such as swimming pool gates. The Centers for Disease Control have reported that one of the top risk factors for drowning is a failure to enclose a pool space to keep children out after hours. When a swimming pool is negligently maintained, a premises liability claim may be appropriate. However, sometimes, the problem is not a pool owner's attempted safety measures but defective pool gates. Maryville swimming pool accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe can help you bring a product liability claim or lawsuit if your child was hurt due to a defect in a swimming pool enclosure.

Holding a Manufacturer Accountable for Defective Pool Gates

The first question after a swimming pool drowning or near-drowning accident is whether the accident could have been avoided. Often, swimming pool accidents are prevented by pool owners taking appropriate safety measures, such as installing working gates. Gates help to keep children out in particular.

However, in some cases, the pool gates are installed, but someone makes their way onto the property anyway and is injured or killed. Under Rule 1200-23-5-.02 (operational requirements for public swimming pools), all outside public swimming pools in Tennessee are supposed to be protected by a fence or barrier that is at least four feet, or by other approved, functionally equivalent barriers. Additionally, openings in a barrier are supposed to have self-closing and self-latching hardware to enable permanent locking. Public pool operators must keep fences in good repair. The rationale behind this rule is that gates that fail to keep people out may also fail to prevent drownings, electrocutions, trip and falls, and other injuries.

A public swimming pool that fails to follow these rules may be found negligent or negligent per se if a child or adult is injured as a result. It may also be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit, assuming that the injured person was either a lawful visitor or a child trespasser to whom the attractive nuisance doctrine applies.

Moreover, when a gate around a public or private swimming pool is defective rather than poorly maintained, you may be able to sue the manufacturer or seller of the gate in a product liability lawsuit. The Tennessee Product Liability Act allows accident victims to bring a product liability lawsuit based on several different theories, including strict liability, negligence, breach of express or implied warranty, failure to warn, misrepresentation, nondisclosure, or concealment.

Under a theory of strict liability, a plaintiff need only prove that there was a defect and that the defect caused the victim’s injuries. It may be necessary to retain an expert to testify regarding these elements. Defects may be manufacturing, design, or marketing defects. Pool gates that are defective are generally likely to be defective in their manufacturing or design. A manufacturing defect is typically found in only one or a small number of items in a product line. It is a result of a flaw during the manufacturing process.

Design defects are sometimes found in a product line. They are an aspect of the product that makes it unreasonably dangerous. Tennessee courts use both the consumer expectation test and the prudent manufacturer test to determine whether a product is unreasonably dangerous. Under the former approach, a plaintiff must show that the gate performed below the reasonable minimum safety expectations of an ordinary consumer. Under the latter approach, you can prove that the gate was unreasonably dangerous if a reasonably prudent manufacturer or seller that was aware of the gate's dangerous condition would not put it on the market.

Discuss a Swimming Pool Accident Case with Maryville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe

It may be complicated to figure out whether a premises liability or a product liability theory is more likely to be successful in a swimming pool accident case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to defective pool gates, Maryville swimming pool accident attorney Mark Hartsoe can evaluate your situation and potentially represent you in a claim or lawsuit. To arrange a free consultation, call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us online. Mark Hartsoe can assist people who need a product liability attorney throughout East Tennessee, including in Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.

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