Are Hotel Pool Liability Waivers Enforceable?

For those on vacation who get injured at a hotel swimming pool, will the hotel’s pool liability waiver be enforceable? Many things can and do happen to people at swimming pools. It is unfortunate because they are meant to be fun and relaxing, but this isn’t always the case. Some things that may occur are slip and fall accidents, drowning, or getting sucked in by a broken drain and not being able to get out of the water. The problem with all of this is that signs around pools often say, “Swim at your own risk. No lifeguard present. Users waive all liability.” You don’t even have to sign anything – the moment you jump into the pool, you’re technically agreeing to the liability.

What are intentional acts?

A liability waiver is unenforceable if it waives all liability or liability for reckless and intentional acts. It really all depends on the situation. For instance, a hotel cannot avoid liability if a hotel employee pushed a customer into the pool only to find out that the customer can’t swim and actually drowned. The hotel employee’s act was intentional. Liability for intentional acts cannot be waived.

What is negligence and gross negligence?

There are actually different levels of negligence, which are known as negligence and gross negligence. In the case of negligence, what does it stand for? Negligence is being careless or not acting as a reasonable person would. On the other hand, gross negligence is when a serious level of inattention and disregard so far below the ordinary care that a reasonable person would take, that even a careless person wouldn’t have done it. Negligence, in some cases, may be covered in a liability waiver. However, gross negligence will not be covered.

Pool Liability Waivers in the News

Recently, liability waivers regarding pools have been in the news. Recreation providers in California, for instance, may be held liable for gross negligence now, regardless of the wording on liability waivers signed by participants or their parents. The reason being is because the parents of a developmentally disabled girl who drowned at a summer camp were able to sue even though her mother has signed an agreement that assumed “full responsibility for risk of bodily injury, death, or property damage.” The rules are forever changing for special reasons.

Because of this ruling, this means that despite the wording on waivers that parents routinely sign to permit their children to participate in activities, the providers can now be held liable if an accident was caused by gross rather than ordinary negligence. In the ruling, gross negligence referred to “an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.” Juries will typically tend to assume that any accident that results in a serious injury or death must have probably involved gross negligence of some sort.

What must everybody remember? That you swim at your own risk! If you are injured at a hotel swimming pool, you may have a case. See where you stand and call your attorney at MDL for a review of your potential case. You can have all injuries evaluated.