Boca Raton is a pristine city in South Florida where the weather is always warm and swimming pools are everywhere, to be used by: residents in their homes; students at school facilities; residents at community pools and visitors at hotels and resorts in the area. Swimming pools look beautiful and inviting, giving people a sense of calm as they relax nearby. However, a beautiful afternoon can quickly turn into a devastating event when someone is hurt near, or in a swimming pool, suffering from drowning or near-drowning events that will negatively impact livelihoods or cause death.
Personal injury lawyers in Florida are all too familiar with legal actions revolving around injuries due to swimming pool accidents. If you are uncertain if you have a cause of action, you should consult with an attorney regarding the particulars of your case. Accidents surrounding swimming pool activities are commonplace in Florida including diving and drowning accidents involving children more often than adults. Swimming pool accidents can leave people with serious injuries including brain damage, or death. Twenty-five children in Florida drowned from Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2017 to give you an idea of the severity of this problem in Florida.
In accordance with the Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, every action to safeguard from drowning deaths in young children and frail elderly people in Florida should be taken by assuring constant adult supervision, or pool safety features that deny or detect unsupervised entry to pool areas, in the hopes of a reduction in drowning and near-drowning accidents. Loss of life, health care costs, loss of productivity and legal expenses regarding injury from pool accidents including those causing exorbitant lifetime bills from care and treatment costs for young children who have suffered brain damage is quite large.
Negligence. Florida pool owners must install barricades, fencing, or locked doors to prevent curious children from accidentally falling into the pool and drowning. Lack of safety measures to prevent trespassing children may be considered negligence, if the property owner knew or reasonably should have known of this risks and did not act.
Pool accident prevention.
- Install four-sided fencing that is at least 4 feet high, separating the pool area from the house and yard. Self-closing and latching gates out of children’s reach or automatic door locks and alarms could assist in keeping people out and alerting you if they get in.
- The pool deck should be clear of clutter including toys, floats, balls so that people will not trip on them, and so that children will not have an interest in going into a pool area without adult supervision.
- Assure adult supervision that can swim.
- Use buddy system.
- Be aware of medical disorders like seizures.
- Learn to swim.
- CPR certification for pool owners.
- Use approved safety floating devices.
- Do not drink or take drugs.
- Do not drive in shallow water.
Statute of limitations. Florida lawsuits that are seeking compensation for personal injury allows four years from the date of an accident to file a civil lawsuit. You must file the claim within that time period or the court will refuse to hear your case. Sometimes a person is now aware of an injury they sustained and will not find out about it until some time in the future, but if the injury can be proven to be due to the accident and since it was not “discovered” until a certain time, the filing window may be extended in certain cases. Accidental drowning can lead to coma, death, and brain injuries causing a lifetime of medical treatment and a reduction in the enjoyment of the activities of daily living.
Fault. Florida follows the “pure comparative negligence rule” meaning that if you were responsible for any part of the activities that led to your injury, the compensation you will receive will be adjusted in accordance with that percentage of fault assigned to you. Because the court systems in Florida follow this rule in injury cases, you may find that the insurance adjuster will also try to assign a degree of fault to decrease the settlement paid out for the accident
Wrongful death claims. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as a fatality caused by a party’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” A pool accident causing drowning may be deemed an act of negligence. It is a serious crime and can lead to civil and criminal charged depending on the particulars of the case. Compensation may be available to address negative effects on income, funeral expenses, and emotional suffering. Wrongful death claims have a two- year statute of limitations.
Legal Counsel. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury related to a swimming pool accident that has left them with damages, and losses, consult the Law Offices of Oscar Syger to find out the wisest course of action from a professional, knowledgeable attorney in personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from accidents.