Accidents In Florida Swimming Pools
No matter the time of year, Floridians love to swim. Whether in residential swimming pools, commercial pools, or in Florida’s lakes and ocean, countless people enjoy beating the heat in the water. However, accidents can and do happen, especially among very young children, and it can be difficult for a panicked parent (or anyone else!) to know how best to seek compensation for the injuries suffered. Calling an experienced personal injury attorney can help to clarify matters.
Residential Pool Requirements
Many Floridians have residential swimming pools, and love to spend time in and around them. However, until recently, residential pools have been one of the most dangerous places for children under the age of four years old, with Florida having one of the highest death rates by accidental drowning for that age group, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) quoted by the Florida Department of Health. Florida finally passed the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA) in 2015, which held that a pool owner could be held liable for the injury or death of a vulnerable victim if they do not have at least one pool safety feature installed.
Under the RSPSA, a homeowner with a pool on their property must have at least one of five different safety features installed: (1) an appropriate ‘enclosure’ for the pool, such as a fence, that meets the characteristics required by the statute; (2) an approved pool safety cover; (3) an alarm on each door and window facing the pool, with a required decibel minimum; (4) a swimming pool alarm that reacts not only to unauthorized entry to the enclosure, but also into the water; and (5) a “self-closing, self-latching” device with a release mechanism at least 54 inches above ground. Failure to do so may open the owner up to serious liability if someone is injured in their pool.
Other Pools – Who Is Liable?
If you do not have access to a residential swimming pool, you may seek to go to a community pool, or a hotel or condo building pool. The rules for doing so may be slightly different – namely, it is not always the owner who will be primarily liable in the event of an accident – but the core principles are the same. If you are injured in a hotel pool, for example, the management of the hotel will likely be the one at fault, while injuries in a pool owned or operated by a condo board or homeowners’ association will confer liability on that body.
The reason that a hotel manager or condo board might be potentially liable for an injury or a death in their pool is because of a legal theory called premises liability. Premises liability holds that the landowner or property owner must make the place in question safe for those who come onto the premises, though the duty of care owed to each person varies. Hotel guests, for example, are usually seen as invitees onto the premises of a hotel, since they are there for business of the owner’s (to stay there, and pay for the privilege). The duty of care owed to invitees is quite high – and if it is breached, the owner will generally be liable.
Contact A Tampa Pool Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a swimming pool, there is a good chance that the owner of the pool may be liable for the harm you have suffered. That said, it is a good idea to seek out a Tampa personal injury attorney to discuss your options before filing suit. The Rinaldo Law Group can offer dedicated and knowledgeable representation during what can be a scary time for you and your loved ones. Call our offices today for a free consultation.