Drownings and Drowning-Related Injuries in Florida
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty percent of those deaths are children aged 14 and younger. In fact, drowning was the leading cause of preventable death among children ages 1 to 4 between 2005 and 2014.
Nonfatal drownings are also a major problem. “For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries,” the CDC reports. For example, being underwater for too long can cause permanent brain damage.
Florida is both a coastal state and home to a number of swimming pools. That is one of the reasons Florida leads the nation in child drownings.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed after Accidental Drowning
In October 2017, a West Palm Beach man woke up from a nap to find his 3-year-old biological son and his 3-year-old stepson floating at the bottom of his pool. Both boys died.
While no criminal charges were filed in the case, the stepson’s father recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the West Palm Beach man and his wife, alleging that the man should have been watching the boys and that the pool gate should have been locked. The father says the stepfather’s negligence is the reason that his son died.
Note that Florida law requires private homeowners to fence in their pools and to have special childproof gates.Your county or municipality might also impose additional safety regulations.
Preventing Drownings and Drowning-Related Injuries
Drownings and drowning-related injuries are entirely preventable. Here are some steps that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that families take to keep their loved ones safe around pools and other bodies of water:
- Learn how to swim and enroll your children in swimming lessons so that they also learn how to swim. But remember that knowing how to swim is not full-proof. Accidents can still happen, so don’t assume a false sense of security in the water.
- Get trained to perform CPR, both on children and adults.
- Watch your children closely around pools and other bodies of water, and never leave them unattended. Designate at least one person to supervise the children (like a lifeguard). This person should not be on their cell phone or distracted in any way.
- Make sure that any pool or spa you use complies with federal and state safety standards. For example, public pools must use VGB-compliant pool drain covers.
- Always wear a life jacket when in a boat, whether it is a kayak, sailboat, or any other vessel. Don’t assume that knowing how to swim means you don’t need to wear one.
Contact Us Today
Contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you or a loved one sustained drowning-related injuries. Our experienced attorneys will examine the facts of your case and help determine whether you have a viable personal injury or wrongful death claim.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.