It is swimming weather all year round in Florida, and that means that pools are a feature of many private homes and most apartment and condominium complexes, private clubs, hotels, motels, and inns. Municipalities also often have public pools for the use of residents.
The prevalence of pools is accompanied by a correspondingly large number of drowning and near-drownings in the state, as well as other pool-related accidents.
Many of these incidents can be preventable because they are caused, at least in part, by someone’s negligence.
When negligence is a factor in an accident, the injured person may seek an award of money damages. In this situation, you should consult a Florida swimming pool accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney from Kogan & DiSalvo could advise you of your legal options and how to pursue compensation from the negligent party.
Pool Accident Injuries and Potentially Liable Parties
Drowning can lead to death, and near-drowning may cause irreversible brain damage that affects someone for the rest of their life. Inattentive supervision often contributes to these accidents, and as a result, lifeguards and their employers may be liable. The owner or operator may also be culpable if no lifeguard was in attendance, depending on the circumstances.
In addition to drowning and near-drowning, many other injury-causing swimming pool incidents may be attributable to someone’s negligence. Some of these injuries may include:
- Head or spinal cord injuries due to misplaced diving boards or insufficient shallow water warning
- Burns, skin irritation, or respiratory illness due to misapplied pool chemicals
- Illness due to unclean pool water
- Slip and fall injuries due to slippery or uneven pool decks
- Injuries associated with defective or improperly installed pool equipment like ladders, filters, and drains
A local attorney could analyze the particulars of a swimming pool accident case to identify all potentially negligent parties. Some potential defendants may include the pool owner or operator, a pool maintenance contractor, the manufacturer or installer of a piece of pool equipment, and others. It is important to note that an injured plaintiff potentially could seek damages from multiple parties whose negligence contributed to their accident.
Negligent Plaintiff Entitled to Damages
When a plaintiff was negligent in the incident that caused their injury, a judge or jury analyzes the facts of the case to apportion negligence among the parties. In situations where the claimant may be partially to blame for their losses, the judge may reduce any award to a negligent plaintiff by their percentage fault. According to state law, a plaintiff who bears most of the fault for an accident can receive an award of damages from a negligent defendant.
However, Florida Statute Title XLV, §768.36, limits a negligent plaintiff’s opportunity to recover damages if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. If a judge or jury finds that a plaintiff’s judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol and that the plaintiff was more than 50 percent at fault, the plaintiff cannot collect damages from other negligent parties.
A skilled lawyer in Florida could determine if a claimant may have been partially to blame for their swimming pool accident and how this may impact their compensatory award.
Rules for Residential Swimming Pools in Florida
Homeowners have special responsibilities if they own property with a pool that was installed after the year 2000. The state’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA) requires residential swimming pools that are not isolated from the house by a barrier to have at least one of the following safety features:
- Fence at least 48 inches high from the outside
- Approved safety cover
- Pool alarm with sensors to detect entry into the water
- Alarm on all doors and windows that provide access to the pool
- Self-latching doors at all points of entry to the pool
If an injury occurs at a residential swimming pool, and the homeowner is not in compliance with the RSPSA, the plaintiff’s attorney could assert negligence per se. That means that the plaintiff need not prove negligence, but only show that the homeowner was not in compliance with the law and that an injury occurred as a result.
Get Support from an Experienced Florida Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
When recovering from a swimming pool accident injury or grieving the death of a loved one, it is difficult to focus on issues like liability or potential lawsuits. However, taking swift action can make a big difference in whether negligent defendants are ultimately held accountable.
A knowledgeable legal professional from Kogan & DiSalvo could provide you with solid counsel and help seek legal action. Contact a Florida swimming pool accident lawyer today to discuss your particular circumstances in a free case consultation.