For many Miami homeowners, their swimming pool is one of the largest concerns when it comes to premises liability. After all, if a guest is injured on the property, homeowners may face legal claims. Even if a child trespasses on the property, the owner may be liable if the child is injured in the pool.
And pool injuries are a concern in Miami. There are many ways people are injured in pool incidents each year. There are drownings and near-drownings where survivors are seriously injured because they are deprived of oxygen for minutes. Head injuries, slip and fall injuries, and spinal cord trauma as well as fractures and lacerations are also common around the pool.
Because of the risk of injury. many property owners install tall fencing and self-locking gates around pool areas, as most insurers recommend. Some even install security cameras and high-tech alarm systems so they’re aware if anyone trespasses.
The Sharing Economy and Pool Injuries in Miami
Given the liability risk of pools, it is maybe surprising that the sharing economy has targeted pools. Sharing platforms allow homeowners to rent their pool by the hour to strangers who may not have access to a private swimming area.
This business model has been quite successful since 2018, and many thousands of pools are available for rent for birthday parties, events, and sometimes just a few hours of exercise.
But what does this mean for premises liability claims?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies have exceptions for commercial use, so if someone is injured when pool sharing, the homeowner’s policy will likely not cover the damages.
Some sharing platforms do offer liability protection, though like all entrants in the sharing economy, there are exclusions. The largest platform for pool sharing allows hosts to purchase a $1 million-dollar personal liability policy for up to ten guests, and a $10,000 property damage insurance policy. Among other exceptions, the pool sharing platform does not cover alcohol-related injuries and losses, or losses arising out of patio heaters, trampolines, swing sets, and other additions that homeowners often make available to make their pool rental more appealing. Losses also need to be reported within 72 hours and there are other exceptions as well.
Even though hosts can vet guests, it’s not hard to see how the exclusions could become an issue. What happens if a guest promises not to drink alcohol but does so anyway and is injured? What if a host offers a swing set and a guest is injured on the play set, not realizing the area is not covered?
Unlike public and commercial pools, private pools offered for rent do not have to be inspected and may not pass safety standards. There is often no way to determine how safe a pool area is and how well it is maintained, and this issue can lead to serious injury.
If you have been injured during a pool rental, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Miami premises liability claims attorney. Our legal team, with more than 60 years of combined experience, can determine whether you may have a legal claim.