Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pools are often a source of family fun and outdoor entertainment, especially in Florida, where pools can be enjoyed year-round. Unfortunately, they also can be extremely dangerous if care is not taken to make sure a pool is maintained and properly closed off to children. Accidents in these areas can cause serious harm due to near-drowning or drowning. If you or your child has suffered this type of injury, South Florida swimming pool accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Robert Dixon can help you file a claim against those responsible. Serving clients in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, we will work tirelessly to pursue the compensation you or your child deserves.Injuries Caused in Florida Pools
Drowning is the leading cause of death for young children in Florida, as well as a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly individuals. Nationally, approximately 5,000 children are hospitalized due to drowning accidents yearly, and one-fifth of those children suffer permanent impairments. According to Center for Disease Control’s studies, an average of nine people are killed in drowning accidents daily, and as many as four times as many people are hospitalized for near-drowning injuries.
The Florida legislature found that constant adult supervision is vital to reducing the number of drowning incidents. When breaks in supervision occur, moreover, proper pool safety features designed to deter unsupervised entry to a swimming pool will reduce drowning and near-drowning accidents. These injuries are reduced by 90 percent for pools that are fenced in.Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act
Under this law, residential swimming pools must have at least one pool safety feature, including a pool cover or fence. Surrounding a pool with a fence is the most commonly employed feature. Each swimming pool barrier must:
- Be at least four feet high;
- Not have any gaps or openings that would allow a child to crawl under, over, or through it;
- Surround the pool’s perimeter, unattached to property-enclosing fences; and
- Be far enough away from the pool’s edge to prevent a person who surpassed the barrier from falling in immediately.
Failing to follow this law can subject a pool owner to liability if someone suffers drowning or near-drowning as a result.Liability for Negligent Property Owners
Violating the Residential Swimming Pool Act may be a strong indication of negligence by itself and provide a basis for recovery to an injured victim in a lawsuit. Any person in Florida who owns property, such as a pool, owes a duty of care to people visiting the property. The applicable level of care is based on the status of the visitor. In many pool accidents, victims are entering the premises for a social purpose, such as a birthday party or a dinner with friends. Property owners owe social guests a duty of care to prevent injuries caused by hazards on their properties. If the swimming pool isn’t properly protected or maintained, and that leads to an accident, the pool’s owner could be found negligent and liable for the harm suffered by the victim.
In addition, the “attractive nuisance doctrine” creates a separate obligation to protect children. Property owners must exercise special care to shield children from conditions that are likely to attract them and that could be dangerous. Even if a child is not invited onto the premises, an unfenced swimming pool or one with a barrier that has a gap may be enticing to a child. Failure to mend a fence or provide a fence could lead to drowning and other serious injuries for a child, such as asphyxiation or oxygen deprivation. Some medical consequences of such injuries may not even be known until much later. Due to these complicated situations, it’s important to consult an experienced lawyer to file a claim and preserve your rights.Representation for Swimming Pool Accident Victims in Fort Lauderdale
Pursuing an injury claim in a timely way is vital to ensuring that pool accident victims receive the financial assistance they need to recover from their injuries. The Miami premises liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Dixon are here to help you through the legal process. Robert Dixon and his staff are familiar with the types of injuries sustained in swimming pool accidents and what is necessary to litigate your claim. Contact us to schedule a free consultation regarding your pool accident case. Please call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.