Swimming Pool Accident Attorney in Palm Coast, FL
Homeowners, hotels, clubs, waterparks, and others that have swimming pools on their properties in Florida have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of those allowed to use their pools and to safeguard their swimming pools from unauthorized users. Public and private swimming pool owners who neglect their duty of safety may be compelled to compensate individuals who are injured or the families of those injured by accidental drowning, near drowning, falls or other accidents at their pools.
If you have suffered a personal injury or the death of loved one at a Palm Coast or Ormond Beach swimming pool, you can count on the pool owner’s insurance company to fight a swimming pool accident claim. This is why you need to have an equally qualified swimming pool accident lawyer representing you.
At Chiumento, Dwyer, Hertel & Grant, P.L., our attorneys have extensive experience with handling swimming pool accident litigation. For more than 40 years, our lawyers have worked hard to help injured people in Palm Coast and Ormond Beach, Florida.
Our full-service law firm is prepared to investigate the circumstances of your or your loved one’s accident and work diligently to ensure that you receive full compensation for your loss. Contact us online or by phone now for a free claim review and advice about your legal options.
Who Is Liable For Swimming Pool Accidents And Injuries?
The State of Florida has enacted laws that require owners of residential, commercial and public swimming pools to ensure their pools are guarded by fences or alarms and are properly supervised. The Florida Department of Health has adopted sanitation and safety standards as well as inspection regimens for public pools.
For example, Florida law requires a pool that is open to invitees, whether public (e.g., a water park) or private (e.g., a hotel or resort), must:
- Provide adequate supervision
- Provide adequate emergency equipment
- Maintain the pool and surrounding areas
- Post adequate signage
- Post ample warnings regarding pool hazards.
Among requirements at a residential swimming pool are a pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate that encloses the pool to ensure no direct access to it.
Failure to meet legal requirements can be charged criminally as a misdemeanor.
However, Florida premises liability law holds a swimming pool owner civilly responsible if their neglect of safety or sanitation at their pool leads to an accident that causes serious injury or death.
In general, property owners must ensure their premises (building and grounds) are safe for those who legally visit them. If there is a hazard on the premises, they must remedy it, warn of its presence or safeguard it. Failure to do so may be considered negligence of their legal duty and leave them open to a claim for compensation for damages caused by their negligence.
Negligence Per Se and the Swimming Pool as ‘Attractive Nuisance’
In most cases, the plaintiff who files a premises liability claim for compensation must demonstrate the property owner’s negligence to be successful. That is, the injured party must show that they were injured in an accident that was caused by something the property owner did or failed to do.
However, in Florida, proof that a defendant has broken a law, such as the requirement for a fence around a pool, is viewed under a doctrine called “negligence per se,” which means the broken law in and of itself establishes negligence.
Another doctrine of interest in swimming pool accident claims refers to what’s known as an “attractive nuisance.” In most cases, only individuals who have a legal right to be on a property can make a premises liability claim following an accident. Trespassers usually have no legal right to a claim. However, the law recognizes that children or others with under-developed mental capacity may not understand trespassing law nor the danger of a swimming pool, and that a pool may instead attract their attention.
The attractive nuisance doctrine asserts that because swimming pools attract children to danger they cannot understand, owners have added responsibility for ensuring that young children cannot gain access to their pools without adult supervision.
Compensation for Swimming Pool Accidents in Florida
A drowning death is the most obvious and horrific accident that can happen in a swimming pool.
The Florida Department of Health says in 2013, Florida had the highest accidental drowning rate in the nation for children 1–4 years old, with a drowning rate of 7.54 per 100,000 population. Florida had the second-highest drowning rate in the nation for children ages 1–14, with a drowning rate of 2.54 per 100,000 population. Of course, older youths and adults drown in swimming pool accidents, too.
A wrongful death claim following a swimming pool drowning could seek compensation for losses suffered by the estate of the deceased, such as:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Lost earnings from the date of injury to death
- Future lost income the accident victim would have earned
- Pain and suffering before the accident victim died.
Surviving family members might seek compensation for:
- Mental pain and suffering (grief)
- Loss of care, guidance and companionship the accident victim provided them
- Loss of support services the accident victim provided.
In a swimming pool accident personal injury claim, the injury victim, or parents on behalf of a child, may seek compensation for:
- Medical bills and related expenses, including for rehabilitation, physical therapy, assistive devices, medication and any required medical treatment in the future
- Lost wages and/or diminished earning capacity caused by the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, additional money the defendant is required to pay in exceptional cases of egregious wrongdoing.
Statute of limitations in Florida
It is important to seek legal help as soon as possible after a swimming pool accident that may have been caused by the pool owner’s negligence. Personal injury and wrongful death claims are complex, and gathering the evidence required for a claim solid enough to withstand the inevitable attacks by insurers is time-consuming.
The time required to develop a claim is relevant for not only your need for compensation so you can pay bills and move on with your life but also because of Florida’s statutes of limitations, which are legal deadlines for filing lawsuits. They are:
- Four years from the date of the accident for a personal injury claim.
- Two years from the date of death for a wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents
Negligence at a swimming pool can come in many forms. It is not likely for a residential, public or private pool owner in Florida to completely ignore laws for safeguarding their pools or protecting swimmers, but negligence can occur due to complacency, poor decisions, financial constraints or other issues.
Many swimming pool accidents can be traced back to such negligence as:
- Lack of adequate security
- Lack of supervision by adults or staff
- Lack of qualified lifeguards on staff
- Lack of life-saving and/or first-aid equipment
- Engaging in or allowing horseplay
- Engaging in or allowing such dangerous activities as diving in shallow water, not taking breaks, swimming after drinking alcohol
- Use of electrical equipment, such as stereos, computers or fans, near wet pool areas
- Malfunction of drains, decks, ladders, fences, diving boards, etc., due to neglected maintenance or improper installation
- Poor lighting on steps / stairs or in corridors leading to or from pool area, particularly at transition areas between outdoors and indoors
- Failure to properly treat pool water
- Failure to adequately secure access to caustic chemicals used to treat pool water.
Drowning is far from the only accident that can happen at a swimming pool. Others that happen across Florida include:
- Near-drowning or non-fatal submersion injuries
- Slipping and falling
- Drain entrapment
- Contact with contaminated / improperly treated pool water
- Contact with caustic chemicals used to improve water quality, stop equipment corrosion and scaling, and protect against algae growth.
Types of Swimming Pool Injuries
Negligence at a swimming pool can lead to numerous injuries, including but not limited to:
- Brain damage suffered due to near-drowning or non-fatal submersion
- Sprains, strains and fractures from slip-and-fall or diving accidents
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury, from falls or diving in shallow water
- Internal organ damage caused by drain entrapment
- Electrocution, shock or electrical burns from electric equipment coming into contact with water
- Water-borne illness from contaminated / improperly treated pool water
- Contact burns or poisoning from contact with caustic chemicals
- Hypothermia from prolonged exposure to wetness and cold.
Any injury suffered at a swimming pool that requires an emergency response or leads to hospitalization should be investigated to determine whether negligence by the pool owner or management played a role. The medical bills and other losses you face may be compensable through a personal injury claim.
Our legal team fully investigates swimming pool accident claims to find out what really caused the accident and who should be held responsible for losses the injury victim has suffered. We also calculate the true cost of the victim’s injuries to ensure that the personal injury claim seeks all of the compensation the accident victim and/or their family deserves.
Contact a Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer in Florida
If you or a loved one of yours has suffered a serious injury at a swimming pool that was or could have been someone else’s fault, it is in your best interest to consult with one of our personal injury attorneys. Our attorneys at Chiumento, Dwyer, Hertel & Grant have been helping Florida residents recover compensation for their losses for more than 40 years. We have the experience, skills and resources needed to help you recover the compensation you deserve to have, and we are dedicated to that goal.
Take advantage of our free consultation and speak today with an attorney at Chiumento, Dwyer, Hertel & Grant in Palm Coast or Ormond Beach. We can explain your rights and how we can help you pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.