Swimming Pool Drowning Accidents
Swimming is one of the great joys for millions of residents and tourists in Miami, South Florida and throughout the state - and there are plenty of pools to swim in. One survey indicated that there were more than 1.3 million pools in Florida. Unfortunately, however, more children under the age of 15 drowned by pool and spa deaths in Florida than in any other state, as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Drowning is the LEADING CAUSE OF UNINTENTIONAL DEATH for children between the ages of one and four, according to the CDC
If you lost a loved one through a swimming pool drowning death or if you or a loved one was injured in a pool accident, it is advisable to discuss this with an experienced attorney.
Most Swimming Pool Drowning Deaths are PREVENTABLE
What are some of the primary factors and causes leading to swimming pool drownings?
- Lack of close supervision – such as qualified lifeguards - while children and adults are swimming
- Lack of enclosures and barriers to the pool such as gates, fences and walls – resulting in unsupervised pool access
- This is especially significant with children
- Child’s caregiver not being attentive or aware that the child is in or near a pool
- Lack of safety equipment such as emergency flotation devices or safety poles
- Property owner not being aware of people in pool
- Lack of ability to swim
- Alcohol or drug use
- Seizure disorders
- Defective pool equipment
Near-Fatal Drownings May Result in Permanent Brain Damage
When an individual is submerged beneath the water and unable to breathe, the brain has no access to oxygen. This often results in permanent brain damage. The victim will no longer be self-sufficient. He or she will often require a lifetime of medical attention and around-the-clock care. Medical and healthcare expenses can easily run into the millions of dollars.
Homeowners and commercial properties with swimming pools should have insurance policies to cover swimming accidents such as this.
Slip and Fall Injuries and Diving Board Injuries
Slip and fall injuries are extremely common on the wet, slippery pool deck area. Kids can often be seen chasing each other and running around the pool. This should not be permitted because of the obvious potential harm. Any reasonable person – especially a pool owner – should know that this type of conduct can result in an injury or death.
Severe injuries can occur when swimmers jump off the side of the pool into shallow water. This can result in permanent disability because of head, brain and neck injuries.
Diving board injuries are common. Many children and adults slip and fall on the diving board, resulting in head and body injuries. Children often engage in reckless conduct while on diving boards. They also attempt dangerous dives. Again, the responsible parties are negligent for allowing high-risk behaviors.
Slip and fall and other pool injuries often result in:
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Fractured arms, legs, hands, ankles and feet
- Cuts and bruises
- Paralysis – partial or complete
Drain Deaths and Injuries
Some of the most horrific pool deaths and injuries result from outdated and/or dysfunctional pool drains. Drains that have too much suction power may easily suck and hold down a child or even an adult. In other instances the swimmer’s hair can get sucked into the drain, holding the victim down until drowning occurs.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted after the young girl died from entrapment in a pool drain. The Act requires that all swimming pool and spa drain covers comply with federal safety standards. Any drain-related deaths or injuries from non-compliance may result in significant damages.
Who May Potentially Be Liable and Responsible for Swimming Pool Drownings and Injuries?
Generally speaking, the owner of the pool is responsible for all ensuing conduct in and around the pool area. Most pools in private homes are owned by the homeowner.
There are many other pools in private and public locations, including, but not limited to the following examples:
- Private homeowner
- Apartment complex
- Hotel, motel or resort
- Water park or theme park
- Private country club or golf club
- Beach club
- Summer camp or sports camp
- Community center
- University or school
- City, town or municipal pool
All swimming pool owners should carry liability insurance. The insurers are responsible to their policyholders. In cases of drownings and injuries, the insurance company (or companies) and other responsible parties will be held accountable.
Property Management Company and Security Company - May be Responsible for Negligence
It is important to note that many commercial property owners hire a property management company to oversee and manage the pool, the pool area and the entire property. The property management company may then hire other companies and/or individuals to maintain the property. In the event of a drowning or injury, liability may be shared by more than one party.
In addition to the property owner and management company, those who are responsible for building and maintaining the pool may possibly also be responsible for related drownings or injuries.
Those who are responsible for creating and maintaining protective barriers may also be responsible. Some of the parties who may potentially share liability include:
- Property owner
- Property management company
- Lifeguards, lifeguard company, supervisors, managers
- Other party or parties in charge of protecting swimmers
- Pool construction company for pool defects resulting in drowning or injuries
- Protective pool cover builder and installer for defects resulting in drowning or injuries
- Pool maintenance company for failure to properly maintain pool when resulting in injuries or drowning
- Fence or gate manufacturer, installer – if fence was defective and entrance to pool resulted in drowning or injuries
- Lock installer and maintenance company – if defective locks resulted in pool entrance and drowning or injury
- Security company and security guards for failing to properly monitor and guard premises
Compensatory Damages for Swimming Pool Drowning Deaths and Injuries
If your loved one drowned as a result of another party’s negligence, you may potentially pursue significant monetary compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In a wrongful death suit, both the decedent’s estate and the surviving heirs may potentially pursue compensation. The decedent’s estate may pursue medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost earnings and more. The survivors may pursue compensation for mental pain and suffering, lost support and services, loss of decedent’s companionship and protection, and much more. In a personal injury suit, the injured party may pursue compensation for medical and hospital expenses, rehabilitation, lost income, future lost income, pain and suffering and more.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].
4. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6119a4.htm?s%20cid=mm6119a4%20w ---
5. www.cpsc.gov – US Consumer Product Safety Commission