The home pool in Florida is a constant hotspot for fun in the sun, for a homeowner, their family, and friends. Any homeowner who has a pool, however, has legal responsibilities. If the homeowner, their family, or guests are injured or killed, in their pool they may be held liable for the harm they have caused the victim, or the victim’s family. This is where a Miami personal injury lawyer can help.
It is a sad fact, that most pool accidents involve the drownings of children under five years of age. Because of the high incidence of pool accidents in Florida, the legislature instituted the Residential Pool Safety Act. This Act established strict guidelines for private residential pools and pools in apartment complexes and communities.
The Act demands that a pool owner have at least one of the five safety features listed below to comply:
- The pool must be isolated from the home with some sort of barrier that is consistent with the law. This barrier must be at least 4 feet high, no gaps that a child could wiggle through, and far enough from the pool’s surface to prevent someone immediately falling in.
- It must be equipped with an approved safety cover.
- Any entrances and exits from the home to the pool must have an alarm that produces at least 85 decibels at 10 feet away.
- All doors between the home and the pool must be equipped with a “self-closing, self-latching” mechanism with a release at least 54 inches off the ground.
- Have an approved swimming pool alarm installed that sounds when a person enters the water.
If the homeowner’s pool does not have at least one of the safety features, and someone is injured, the homeowner could be found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor, and be open to a civil lawsuit as well.
Discussing your, or your family’s injury with a Miami personal injury attorney is definitely in your best interest. They will be able to guide through the details of your case and are adept at helping injury victims recover compensation
What Other Elements are Important When Someone is Injured in a Pool?
Under the current Florida law, a Florida homeowner may still be held liable even if the person injured is trespassing on his property. Children are attracted to pools and water, so playing in or around your pool looks like fun, but they certainly may not understand the dangers involved. Therefore pool owners must put measures in place to prevent them from getting near the pool.
This obligation can exist even if they are essentially trespassing and unsupervised. If an unsupervised child is killed (by drowning or otherwise) while in your pool (or near it), the owner may not only be held civilly responsible but could be prosecuted criminally.
Florida does allow juries to weigh the fault that the homeowner bears against how much the victim bears in contributing to their injury. If a child is hurt, or worse, killed it is certainly possible that the pool owner could be held to very serious consequences.
In the majority of personal injury cases involving pools, the bottom line is: If you let people use your pool, you are legally responsible for providing safe conditions.
If you are a victim of a pool accident or the owner of the pool that someone is injured in, you should consult with your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This first consultation is usually free and will give you the facts you need to possibly obtain compensation or to protect you, your home, and your family from serious litigation.
What Type of Accidents Tend to Occur In or Around a Pool, and How Severe are They?
Some of the usual accidents that happen in, or around, a pool are:
- Accidents due to improper or absent fencing
- Slip & fall accidents
- Accidents due to a lack of supervision
- Accidents due to poor maintenance
By far though, the most serious accidents are drowning or near-drowning. Near drowning can have very serious, life-altering complications.
It may cause oxygen deprivation that affects the victim permanently in some of the following ways:
- Acute respiratory syndrome
- Post-immersion syndrome
- Lung infections and damage
- Brain damage that may be permanent
These conditions are dire and could require months or years of recovery. They can cost thousands of dollars to diagnose and treat. They may require significant amounts of rehabilitation and therapy to gain even a portion of lost functionality. In children (who are many times the victims) there can be developmental learning delays and disabilities, speech problems, motor skill damage, and even permanent mental and physical disability.
What are My First Steps if Myself or My Family Member Has Been Injured in a Pool Accident?
If you are considering holding a negligent pool owner liable in your pool accident, you will have to file a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit filed by your Miami personal injury attorney will make it possible for you, or your family member, to seek the proper, deserved financial recovery needed to be treated.
Funds for things such as:
- Emergency medical treatment & hospital bills
- Follow up care
- Physical therapy
- Home care or nursing home care
- Loss of income due to the accident
- Loss of future earnings due to incapacitation or disability and more
You can probably see that the costs accrued from a pool injury can be immense, so getting the proper and professional guidance from your Miami personal injury law firm will be invaluable.