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Drowning Lawsuits in Southwest Florida

More than 3 classrooms of children drown every year in Florida.

It’s a sobering reminder of the dangers posed by the water around us, particularly when it comes to small children. Whether visiting the ocean, a local water park or a backyard swimming pool, South Florida is one of the nation’s most dangerous locations for drowning. With more than 1 million swimming pools, Florida has a long history of litigation when it comes to claims involving drowning or near-drowning incidents. swimming-pool-1224450-300x225

Fort Myers injury attorneys know small children face the highest risks. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children younger than 4. Hundreds of others suffer near-drowning injuries each summer, which can result in permanent disability, including memory problems and learning disabilities.

While residents and guests face year around risks in Florida, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day offers the warmest waters and therefore sees the most boating and drowning accidents.

Swimming Safety in Fort Myers, Cape Coral

FOX 4 recently published a reminder to focus on water safety:

  • Make sure your pool is secure (it’s not only your responsibility as a homeowner, but it’s also the law).
  • Never let a child swim unsupervised.
  • Keep adequate rescue equipment and emergency phone numbers nearby.
  • Enroll all children in swimming lessons.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which can save a child’s life during the 10 minutes it takes rescue crews to arrive.

 

Residential swimming pools are by far the riskiest. Nearly all drownings (17 of every 20)  occur at a residential swimming pool. Under F.S. 515, Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, certain requirements are made of residential pool owners, including at least one of the following:

  • Pool must be enclosed by a barrier with latching gates;
  • An approved pool cover;
  • Alarms on doors and windows leading to the pool area.

Liability Lawsuits after Drowning Incidents

Making a personal injury or wrongful death claim following a drowning or near-drowning incident is a complex process. Where an incident occurred will impact how a case proceeds. While premises liability claims may be brought against a homeowner’s insurance policy, claims against public or resort swimming pools are more complex, particularly when owned by a government agency.

In Engelhardt v. City of New Berlin, a Florida appeals court recently allowed a case to proceed against a parks and recreations department that attempted to argue it was protected by governmental immunity after a child drowned at a local swimming pool while on a field trip.

In that case, a young girl drowned at the public pool, despite parents having notified pool employees that she could not swim. The parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit and the parks department asserted governmental immunity, but that argument was rejected by the court, which ruled the department was not shielded from lawsuits for negligence in performing a core duty or proprietary act; drowning prevention, in this case.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers will carefully review your case and determine how best to proceed. Identifying all of the parties responsible and determining the full extent of current and future damages, is vital to protecting your rights after an accident on the water that results in serious or fatal injuries.

If you are injured in Fort Myers, contact our injury attorneys at the Garvin Law Firm at 800.977.7017 for your free initial consultation.

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