Swimming Pool Injuries & Premises Liability
Florida’s weather means that swimming pools are open much longer there than in the majority of other U.S. states. However, this does not mean that all Floridians are well educated about the risks their pools can pose. Florida consistently ranks high on the number of drowning deaths for young children – the state set a record high in 2021 – and even adults can come to harm if a pool is not made safe by its owner. If you are injured in someone else’s swimming pool, or on a pool’s premises, you will very often have a cause of action against its owner, under a legal theory called premises liability.
Pool Owners Owe A High Duty Of Care
Premises liability is a legal theory that divides visitors to a person’s land (or business establishment) into three categories, and holds that the property or business owner owes a varying duty of care to each of them. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care, requiring an owner to both try to make their premises as safe as possible, and to warn of dangers they could not fully fix. Licensees require less diligence from the owner, and trespassers require less still.
The strong majority of pool guests at a private home will be invitees, though a neighbor may come over for their own purposes, making them a licensee. What this means is that the property owner must try to either correct or warn of any dangers – including the swimming pool itself. Florida has a law governing the safety measures required for private pools – most notably, requiring at least one of a list of safety measures, such as a pool cover or locked gate, to be present at all times.
Protect Yourself From Liability
It is important to keep in mind that a failure to comply with Florida’s pool safety statute is a second-degree misdemeanor in itself, and if there is an accident or fatality in your pool, you can be held liable in most situations. This can be true even in some situations involving trespassers – in Florida, the law recognizes a swimming pool as an “attractive nuisance” (a thing that may attract young children to the premises despite its inherent danger), and a property owner may be liable for that child’s injury despite their not having permission to be on the premises.
Premises liability is a form of negligence law, and if an adult is injured on the property, they must show that the owner failed to make their premises safe, and that the owner’s failure to uphold their duty of care was the direct cause of the injury suffered. If they prevail, the owner may wind up paying for both economic and non-economic damages – that is, both tangible and intangible damages suffered in the course of the accident.
Contact A Tampa Premises Liability Attorney
Swimming is a favorite Florida tradition, done almost year-round in some areas of the state. However, both swimmers and pool owners must be aware of the duty of care involved, and abide by state regulations lest they wind up liable for causing harm. Contact a Tampa premises liability attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group today to explore your case. Call our office at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.