Swimming pool accidents and drowning in Miami, Florida: Who is responsible?
When hiring a personal injury attorney in Florida, make sure he or she has vast experience in a wide range of personal injury law areas, to make sure that all the possibilities are fully explored in pursuing your claim.
The question of liability for a swimming pool accident depends upon the nature of the accident itself. Three legal theories could be involved in a claim in Florida:
1. Premises liability
Accidents that are caused by dangerous conditions or defects on a private or public property, are called premises liability accidents. In Florida premises liability cases, determining fault is dependent upon several factors. The legal theory of premises liability holds property owners responsible for ensuring the safety of anyone entering the premises, even trespassers.
If it can be proven that the property owner failed to act reasonably given the duty of care, then he or she will be found to have breached it and a claim for negligence can be filed. Premises liability law applies to:
- Property possessors or operators. Landlords may be held responsible for tenant and guest injuries that occur on a rental property if he or she neglected to take reasonable care in protecting them from injury.
- Government entities and owners of government property such as municipal, community, or school swimming pools.
- Homeowners for residential, private, swimming pools.
- Property owners of private or commercial pools including apartment complexes, campgrounds, fitness clubs, gyms, and hotels.
If a child is injured near a pool, but he wasn't invited on that property, the owner of the pool may still be found guilty based on the "attractive nuisance" theory. This legal theory sustains that if you keep on your property something dangerous but attractive to kids (for example toys), you have the duty to make sure nobody will get hurt. Pools fall under this rule as these attract children's attention.
Under the negligence basis for a drowning claim, a person is liable if he or she was negligent in causing the accident. Negligence is the failure to act as a normal person would act under the same circumstances.
- An employer might be responsible for hiring an unqualified lifeguard or for the lifeguard’s negligent supervision leading to a drowning.
- The person in charge of pool maintenance might be responsible for failing to prevent dangerous conditions.
- Lack of pool fencing, pool covers, warning signs
3. Products liability
If a swimming pool accident or drowning is due to a faulty swimming pool or equipment, then the manufacturer of the pool or of a component part, wholesaler, a retail store, and assemblers or installers may all be included in the lawsuit.
In order to fully protect your rights, you should not give statements to any insurance company or sign any document from an insurer without first consulting with your lawyer. Insurance companies will try to convince you to settle for a low offer or get you to say something they can use against you to deny your claim.
Sean M. Cleary pursues each case with the utmost attention to detail, providing adequate personal injury legal representation to maximize recovery.
Compensatory damages recovered by successful plaintiffs suing under injury claims for drowning or other accidents have included lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.