Who is Liable if a Resident Has a Heart Attack in a Community Pool?

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“I live in a private community in North Carolina. Most of the residents of this community are retired. There are several people in the community who would like to use one of the pools for water aerobics on a near-continual basis. ┬áThe procedure they must follow to get permission to use the pool for water aerobics is s follows:

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Their request goes to the Community Association Manager who funnels it on to the Pool Operating Committee. The Pool Operating Committee looks into the impact on the community then votes. There is an appeal process by which the requesting group may challenge the Pool Operating Committee’s decision by going to the HOA Board of Directors. After hearing the rationale for the Committee’s decision and the argument against it, only a unanimous vote on the part of the Board of Directors can overturn the committee’s decision.

This said, and keeping the in mind that the Water Aerobics is lead by a resident volunteer who happens to be trained in Aqua Fitness, what is the community’s liability should a participant have a heart attack?”

Generally, communities and associations waive all liabilities associated with your use of the pool. That doesn’t mean they can never be liable, but pools are known to be potentially dangerous to people who swim in them; there are often signs “Use at your own risk” posted around the pool. Residents of your community may have also agreed to this waiver of liability when they first moved into the community.

If one of your community’s residents had a heart attack while using the pool for water aerobics, the community wouldn’t likely be liable. However, that depends on a lot of variables. To be sure, you may want to bring your concerns to the attention of your community managers, board of directors, and committee members. It wouldn’t hurt for the community to consult with an attorney who can review, and possibly update the community documents governing the use of the pool. An attorney may also advise that the community take additional action to insulate itself from other liabilities resulting from the use of the pool.

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Author: House Attorney

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