raising awareness for swimming pool safety

In a state surrounded by sea, you would think that water safety would be second nature to most Florida residents. As a side effect of year-round sunshine and warm weather, swimming pools and water sports are a common element of life in South Florida. Most people are happy to take any opportunity to beat the heat with a swim, but there is also the risk of danger with swimming areas. Because there are so many houses that have pools in South Florida, there is a drastic rise in the likelihood of water accidents.

For homeowners, having a pool does mean additional responsibilities. Additionally, there are specific laws by which they must abide for their safety, as well as the safety of others. Specifically, children are at an elevated risk of injury due to water-related accidents.

staggering statistics of swimming pool injuries

Swimming pool injuries can be more severe than many realize, and that is why swimming pool safety is so important. In fact, the statistics for swimming pool injuries are actually quite staggering.

DID YOU KNOW: Every day, 3 children lose their lives due to drowning. And for those who survive, near-drowning accidents often cause life-altering injuries.

Tragically, this happens more in Florida than anywhere else in America. In the year 2017, there were 51 fatal child drownings in the state of Florida. That is over twice as many as the states with the second highest rates, Texas and Arizona. Needless to say, swimming pool safety needs to be a priority in every home.

state regulations on pool areas

When it comes to protecting the public from swimming pool injuries, Florida has the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA). Through this measure, Florida allows owners to be held negligent for failing to protect frail adults and children with at least one pool safety feature. Furthermore, state law requires pool owners to equip their pools with a variety of safety features. For homeowners, these features include:

  • Fences/barriers

Swimming pool fences must be least 48 inches tall and surround the pool area. These barriers must be designed to prevent a small child from squeezing through or under them.

  • Gates

The fence/barrier gates must open outward and away from the pool. They must be self-closing and include a self-latching locking device.

  • Steps or Ladders

Swimming pool ladders or steps must be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or be surrounded by a fence/barrier as described above.

  • Exit alarms

All doors and windows that offer direct access to the pool area from the home must be equipped with exit alarms.

  • Pool covers

Pool safety covers must be approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). 

Additionally, commercial or public pools in Florida are subject to a different set of regulations, such as:

  • Water exits

Every 75 feet of the pool's perimeter must include either steps, swim-outs, recessed treads and/or ladders. At minimum, there should be one exit from the water at each end of the pool

  • Slip-Resistant decks

There must be slip-resistant decks and walkways at least 4 feet wide that remain unobstructed.

  • Anti-entrapment systems

Devices that keep drain suction from pulling swimmers to the bottom of the pool. These systems must comply with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers/American National Standards Institute standards.

  • Proper equipment storage

Must have a room or enclosure for pool equipment protected from unauthorized entrance. Also must have a place for safe storage of chemicals in a well-ventilated area, also protected from unauthorized entrance.

Regardless of whether it is a private homeowner, or resorts, hotels, and waterparks, negligence of these regulations puts lives in danger. Any entity that neglects their duty to safeguard or supervise a pool area may be liable for swimming pool injuries that occur on their property. These laws exist to protect the people. If you or someone you love has been injured due to swimming pool negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for damages.

premise liability and pool area injuries

Sadly, most swimming pool injuries are the result of reckless or negligent behavior. However, the law regarding swimming pool injuries tends to favor the victims. In Florida, property owners owe a general duty of care to visitors of their property. Moreover, they are responsible for the safe operation of swimming pools via premise liability.

However, Florida courts also make a point to recognize two classes of visitors. Each of these categories includes different standards of care when it comes to premise liability.

  • Invitees and Licensees by Invitation- Individuals who are invited to enter or remain on the property by the landowner are owed the duty to correct and warn of any dangers.
  • Trespassers and Uninvited Licensees- For people who do not have permission to be on the property, a landowners only duty is to refrain from willful or wanton injury. In the case of pool owners, the owner must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition to avoid injuries to invited guests. However, in most cases they do not owe any duty to uninvited guests or trespassers.

When homeowners fail to keep their pool area safe, they ultimately are leaving themselves vulnerable to legal premise liability. If someone suffers a serious injury because a homeowner or business owner did not fulfill their duty to public safety in their pool area, they should always be held accountable so others are not put at risk.

attention to the attractive nuisance

There happens to be one detail that can override the general rule that landowners do not owe a duty to trespassers. It is something known as the attractive nuisance doctrine. Namely, an “attractive nuisance” is any object or condition that is likely to attract children. Because children are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition, there should be protections in place to negate the risks. Common attractive nuisances include:

  • Cars
  • Trampolines
  • Treehouses
  • Sand
  • Swimming pools

Thus, landowners can be subject to liability for physical harm to children due to an artificial condition that qualifies as an attractive nuisance.

If you or someone you know has suffered swimming pool injuries and you wish to learn more about what constitutes an attractive nuisance, call lowercase today at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335) to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys.

seeking compensation for serious injuries

Swimming pool injuries can range from minor bruises from slips and falls to severe brain damage. Some victims of swimming pool injuries experience medical costs up to $180,000 per year for long-term care. In those cases that do result in brain damage, costs can reach $4.5 million over that patient's lifetime.

Submersion injuries- Due to the inability of a child to swim, or malfunctioning swimming pool equipment, submersion injuries a very real threat. These incidents can cause oxygen starvation to the brain, which can even lead to permanent damage to the brain.

Spinal injuries- One of the leading causes of spinal injuries is diving into shallow water. This can also lead to head trauma, causing permanent brain damage.

Drowning-related disabilities- Some injuries due to oxygen starvation and near-drowning are life-altering. Not only do these issues dramatically impact the quality of life, but they also can create a serious financial strain.

This is why our lowercase personal injury lawyers work tirelessly on behalf of victims of negligence. We believe that if you or your loved one suffers at the mercy of another parties negligence, your rights need to be protected.

statute of limitations for pool injury lawsuits

There is a very short timeframe for filing a lawsuit in the event of a swimming pool accident. An individual who suffers an injury while swimming on another person's property only has four years from the date of the initial incident to file a claim. However, if that person dies because of their injuries, their state will only have two years to bring the claim. This is just one more reason why it is so important for anyone who suffers an injury in relation to hazardous pool area conditions should seek immediate legal representation.

call now and ask about our lowercase fee

The personal injury lawyers at lowercase are ready to take legal action to get the justice you deserve. Call us at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335) and ask about the lowercase fee today.

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