A Chicago summer is what Chicagoans live for. After months of the frigid cold and heavy winds, there’s nothing like soaking up the sun poolside. As much as a day at the pool can bring respite, it can also be an accident-prone environment. For this reason, several swimming pool laws are in place to help prevent swimming pool injuries.

Pool owners who do not follow these rules and regulations may be liable for any injuries that occur due to their negligence. If you or a loved one is injured due to such negligence, you may need a swimming pool accident lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit.

swimming pool laws in illinois, woman in hat sitting near pool pictured from above, Disparti Law Group

In This Article:



Attractive Public Nuisance Laws and Swimming Pools

Illinois swimming pool laws follow the attractive public nuisance doctrine. According to the Legal Information Institute, “the attractive-nuisance doctrine imposes a duty on property owners to treat trespassing children the same as an invitee, and as a result, must exercise reasonable care to eliminate potential dangers or provide adequate warning.”

In other words, since swimming pools may attract the interest of children, pool owners must take steps to safeguard children in case they did stumble upon their property.

Swimming Pool Laws in Illinois

In Illinois, there are specific laws for both public and residential swimming pools.

Illinois Public Swimming Pool Laws

The state of Illinois has over 3,500 public swimming pools all of which are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The IDPH enforces several guidelines by inspecting and approving the facilities to ensure the safety of its patrons. Facilities that do not take the proper steps to maintain their pools based on the state’s standards may be liable for any injuries caused by their negligence.

Signage Requirements

  • Maximum Occupancy Sign
  • No lifeguard sign.
  • Pool Rules and Regulations Sign:

Enclosure Requirements

  • Fence Specifications:
    • Must be at least four (4) feet high to prevent climbing.
    • No footing should allow for easy climbing.
    • The vertical clearance from the bottom of the fence to the ground should not exceed four inches.
    • Openings in the fence must be no greater than four inches wide.
  • Gate Specifications:
    • All entrances to the pool area must have self-closing and self-latching gates.
    • Gates must be lockable to prevent unauthorized access and ensure safety.

Illinois Residential Swimming Pool Laws

Residential swimming pools do not have to abide by the same signage rules as public swimming pools. However, according to the Private Swimming Pool Enclosure Act in the Illinois Municipal Code, all outdoor swimming pools on private residential properties to be enclosed by a barrier such as a fence or wall. The barrier must be at least 42 inches tall. This act does not include Jacuzzies or pools above ground that are taller than 42 inches.

Cook County Swimming Pool Laws

In Cook County, specifically, pool owners must pass annual inspections from the Cook County Department of Public Health. Public swimming pools must apply for a permit with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and residential swimming pools must submit a permit application to the Cook County Building and Zoning Department.

Chicago’s own Department of Buildings offers its own set of guidelines for residential pools that, while not required, are highly advised to protect not only pool-goers but also pool owners from a premises liability lawsuit.

Swimming pool laws, image of swimming pool and pool rules posted above no diving, Disparti Law GroupCommon Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries

The reality is, swimming pools are high-risk facilities. So there are several ways swimming pool injuries can happen if pool owners do not take the proper safety precautions.

  • Inadequate supervision due to the lack of lifeguards or adult supervision, especially for children.
  • Poor maintenance leading to slipper surfaces, water contamination, or malfunctioning equipment.
  • Improper chemical management causing skin, eye, and respiratory irritation.
  • Faulty pool barriers such as fencing and gates.
  • Unsafe diving areas or absence of clearly marked shallow areas.
  • Inadequate signage such as pool rules, maximum occupancy, potential hazards, and the presence (or absence) of lifeguards.
  • Lack of emergency equipment such as first aid kits, rescue hooks, and life rings.
  • Electrical hazards due to poorly maintained or outdated electrical systems. Not following electrical safety regulations for pool lighting and equipment.
  • Unsafe pool surroundings allowing debris or obstacles to clutter the pool area, increasing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Inadequate Training for pool staff or supervisors on safety procedures and emergency response.

Who is Liable for a Drowning Accident and Other Pool Injuries?

According to premises liability laws in Illinois, property owners must ensure their property is reasonably safe and free of hazards. Of course, some accidents happen even when every safety precaution is taken. However, if a pool owner is negligent in providing such protections, they may be liable for swimming pool accidents.

Sometimes, the worst-case scenario happens, and a swimming accident results in a drowning. Drowning accidents may result in a wrongful death case if property owners did not do what is necessary to protect their patrons from injuries.

However, property owners are not the only party that may be liable for a drowning accident. Defective products such as diving boards or ladder can also cause a swimming pool accident. In this case, the manufacturer can also be liable for injuries and drowning.

There are some cases where pool patrons may be liable for injuries if they are the result of horseplay or if clearly posted warnings are ignored (i.e. diving on the shallow end where signs are clearly posted).

What Happens if You Signed a Pool Waiver?

It’s easy to think that by signing a swimming pool liability waiver you relinquished your rights to pursing legal action following an injury. However, this is not always the case. Swimming pool waivers may be legally invalid if the waiver is not in compliance with specific legal requirements or if the waiver’s language is ambiguous or lacks clarity.

At the end of the day, pool owners are still responsible for your safety and a pool waiver may not protect them from legal recourse if they are grossly negligent. Additionally, if you signed a waiver but you were unaware or uninformed of what you were signing, the waiver may not hold up well in court.

While you may still be able to pursue legal recourse even if you signed a pool waiver, it’s not a task that should be done without expert legal counsel. A lawyer can comb through the waiver as well as state or county’s laws to help strengthen your case and challenge the validity of the waiver.

Contact a Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer Today

Swimming pool injuries can be incredibly devastating. At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, our swimming pool accident lawyers are dedicated to helping victims and their families navigate the complexities of legal claims following an accident. Following a pool accident, you may be owed compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and future medical costs.

If you lost a loved one in a drowning accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive damages for funeral expenses, outstanding medical costs, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.

Navigating the legal process can be daunting, especially when dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event. Our experienced attorneys provide expertise in gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing clients in court if necessary.

For a FREE case review, contact us today at (312) 600-6000 and find out why thousands say… Larry wins!