Visitor Question

Broke neck diving into swimming pool…

Submitted By: Tammy (Mesa, AZ)

My daughter went into the pool after hours at her apartment complex. When she dove into the pool she hit the bottom, split her head open, broke her neck and irreparably damaged one of her main arteries. She spent 2 days in the Neuro ICU (Intensive Care Unit), and had surgery to put her neck back together. She’s extremely lucky, as she came close to severing her spinal cord.

She does not have health insurance to cover her medical treatment. If the complex says they aren’t responsible for accidents, can we hold them responsible? Are they liable? How else can my daughter get her treatment covered? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Tammy,

The definition of “after hours” is

determinative. If the apartment complex posted signage, or otherwise notified tenants the pool wasn’t open “after hours,” your daughter may have a difficult time proving the apartment complex was negligent and thereby liable for your daughter’s injuries. In fact, her actions might be considered “contributory negligence.”

Another consideration would be the mental and physical state of your daughter at the time of her injuries. Was she intoxicated, or did she have enough alcohol in her system to affect her decision making process?

If your daughter entered the pool area during normal operating hours the next question will be whether the apartment complex engaged in activity which might be considered negligent. An example would be the lighting. Was there sufficient lighting to enable your daughter to have seen the bottom of the pool, or at least the pool’s depth?

Absent some proof of the apartment complex’s negligence you may have a difficult time convincing their insurance company to cover your daughter’s damages.

In the alternative, the apartment complex may have a “general liability” policy which covers tenant and visitor injuries regardless of fault. That type of policy is akin to a homeowners policy. Speak with the apartment complex management or owner and ask them to submit your daughter’s claim under their general liability policy.

Learn more here: Apartment Buildings & Other Rentals

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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