Who Is Liable for Swimming Pool Related Accidents in Miami, Florida?
From 2005 to 2014, there were 3,536 fatal unintentional, pool-related drownings in the United States. That is the equivalent to approximately 10 deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida is leading the nation in the number of fatal unintentional drownings in swimming pools, with the death rate of toddlers ages one to four at three times the national rate. Enough children drown each year in Florida to fill four full-sized preschool classrooms.
Aside from accidental drownings, Florida also sees a high number of swimming pool accidents that are related to improper drains, inadequate supervision, improper signage, or even lack of proper barriers to the pool.
Swimming pool accidents fall under premises liability, meaning that the owner of the pool can be held responsible for any accidents, injuries, and even deaths that occur on their property as a result of negligence or unsafe conditions.
At The Pendas Law Firm, our Miami personal injury lawyers assist victims and their families in proving premises liability in the event of a swimming pool injury or death. If you or a loved one has been injured at or in a public or private pool, contact our Miami personal injury law firm today.
Determining Liability for Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool owners carry a heavy burden, as though they are not automatically liable for injuries sustained on their premises, they do have to adhere to much stricter rules than the typical property owner. Because a pool is considered part of a person’s “property,” premises liability rules apply to swimming pools. Under premises liability, pool owners have to worry about the following three types of entrants: trespassers, licensees, and invitees. Although the pool owner’s duty of care may shift depending on the type of entrant injured, pool owners have a duty of care to ensure that their property is safe for a number of anticipated uses, and by any category of entrant.
- Invitee: An invitee is a patron of a public pool. Pool owners are obligated to maintain and repair the pool so that invitees cannot get injured.
- Licensees: A licensee is a social guest on private property that was invited in by the homeowner. Pool owners are obligated to warn licensees of hazards that are not obvious to the average individual.
- Trespassers: A pool owner does not have a duty of care to trespassers. However, this rule drastically changes if the trespasser is a child.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, Florida pool owners are required to keep their pools safe from children who may be attracted to it, and who may not yet understand the risks associated with a swimming pool. This means that pool owners in Miami, Florida must exercise extreme care regarding pool barriers, and in ensuring that a young child cannot in any way gain access to their swimming pool without adult supervision.
Grounds for Liability
In order for a pool owner to be liable, the risk that caused the injury must not be obvious. Furthermore, the injured individual must be able to prove that his or her injuries were not a result of their own negligent behavior. For instance, if you or a loved one were to slip in an obvious puddle of water next to the pool’s ledge while running and kicking a beach ball, your chances of winning a personal injury claim are slim, because a) the puddle of water was obvious, and b) common sense states that you should not have been running and kicking a ball near a swimming pool.
On the other hand, if you were walking into the changing rooms of a public swimming pool, and the dark color of tile camouflaged its wet surface, causing you to slip and hit your head, the property owners would likely have to assume responsibility.
Additionally, the pool owners of a pool that is open to invitees – such as a hotel or club pool – must do the following:
- Provide adequate supervision;
- Provide adequate emergency equipment;
- Maintain the pool and surrounding areas;
- Post adequate signage; and
- Post ample warnings regarding pool hazards.
Failure to do any of the following may result in a personal injury lawsuit against the entity.
Consult a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer
At The Pendas Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience in helping victims of a swimming pool accident file and win a personal injury claim. If you or a loved one was injured in or around a public or private swimming pool, and if you would like to receive the compensation you need to recover, contact our Miami personal injury law firm today at 1-888-LPENDAS or online today. We also serve clients in the Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myer, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Jacksonville areas.