Pool Accident Liability In Florida
Floridians are forever in the ocean and in the pool, trying to keep cool in the year-round warm weather. However, the frequency with which Floridians use their pools can sometimes lead to accidents at a higher clip than in other states. If you have a pool on your property, you need to be aware that you may wind up personally liable for any accidents that happen there.
Many Potential Injuries
While adults can and do suffer accidents in pools, they are far more dangerous for young children. Health Department statistics show that Florida leads the U.S. in drowning deaths for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Inadequate supervision plays a role in these accidents, but other forms of negligence will also factor in – for example, poor maintenance of the pool, failure to warn about dangerous conditions, or poor operation of the pool itself. A pool owner has a responsibility to make their premises safe, or at least to warn of dangerous conditions, and failure to do so invites liability.
The potential types of injuries around a swimming pool are extremely varied, ranging from cuts and bruises from ladder-related injuries, to ingesting large amounts of chlorinated water during a near-drowning. Obviously, some injuries have a fairly quick recovery time, but some can cause significant long-term effects, regardless of age. For example, a near-drowning may have caused oxygen deprivation, which in turn can lead to learning difficulties, loss of memory, and even a long-term loss of function if the deprivation lasted long enough.
Who Is Liable?
If you have been injured in someone else’s pool and believe it happened due to negligence, the defendant may face two different types of charges. The Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA) holds that a breach of the Act is a second-degree misdemeanor, which only carries a sentence of up to 60 days in jail plus a $500 fine. However, in addition to the criminal charges, you will still generally be able to file a civil lawsuit against the defendant based in negligence – that is, arguing that if not for the defendant’s negligence, your injuries would not have occurred.
A civil suit against a pool owner is generally based in a theory of premises liability, which is a type of negligence. Premises liability cases hold that the owner or operator of a business or attraction has a duty to try and either make the space as safe as possible, or to at least warn of any potential dangerous conditions on the premises. A failure to do so opens up the defendant to liability because they have breached their duty to exercise reasonable care toward the people who come onto their land. However, it still must be proven.
Call A Tampa Pool Accident Lawyer
Swimming pools can keep Florida summers bearable, but it is also crucial to be aware of the rights and responsibilities that each person has in using a pool. If you have been injured in someone else’s pool, calling a Tampa personal injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can be a good first step to determining how you should proceed. Call our offices today to speak to an attorney.