Liability In Florida’s Public Swimming Pools
Because of its year-round fair weather, Florida has one of the highest concentrations of swimming pools of any state in the country. That said, it also has a disproportionately high level of accidents, injuries and fatalities surrounding swimming pools. One situation that unfortunately recurs far more often than it needs to is an injury or death in a public swimming pool – too often, liability issues may crop up that can complicate matters significantly, leading to an injured plaintiff having to wait too long for the compensation they deserve.
Drownings Are Sadly Too Common
Florida has an unfortunate history of drownings, particularly among very young children, for whom drowning is one of the leading causes of death. New data from the state’s Department of Children & Families reports that 98 children (people under the age of 18) died of drowning, which is a record high, up approximately 45 percent from 2020. While there is no data specifying exactly where these drownings took place, it is not unreasonable to assume that at least a significant minority occurred in public pools.
If an accident occurs in a residential pool, the injured person may choose to bring suit against the owner (or a parent may do so on behalf of a minor child), seeking compensation for what they or their child has been through. A residential accident would come to court under the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, while an accident in a public pool would fall under different authority – in general, someone injured at an amusement park, hotel, or other public place would likely file suit under a general theory called premises liability.
Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser?
Premises liability is a common-law concept that essentially holds that a landowner (or business owner) must act with a certain degree of care when dealing with the people who come onto their premises. How much care will depend on the status of the visitor. There are three groups – invitees, who visit for purposes of the owner’s; licensees, who visit for their own purposes; and trespassers, who visit without permission. An invitee merits the highest degree of care, while a trespasser will require the lowest.
Depending on where the public pool is, visitors may either be invitees or licensees. For example, hotel patrons using the pool on the premises are considered licensees – there for their own purpose – while swimmers in a community pool are usually invitees. The owner of the premises must warn both groups of known hazards, such as slick surfaces, but it is only invitees who require the owner to keep the premises reasonably safe to begin with. These cases can hinge on technicalities, so having an attorney on your side is a good idea.
Contact A Tampa Pool Accident Attorney
Swimming pools are a major draw for Floridians, particularly in summer, but potentially the whole year round. However, they require a level of care that is not always observed – particularly in a public pool, which may not always be overseen the way it should be. If you or a loved one has been injured in a public swimming pool, contacting an experienced Tampa premises liability attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can make all the difference in your quest for compensation. Call our offices today for a free consultation.