Here in South Florida, swimming pools are a way of life. Unfortunately, they can also be the cause of death and serious injury. Florida swimming pool accidents result in hundreds of drownings each year – many of them children.
While pools can be a ton of fun, understanding the inherent dangers can go a long way toward keeping pool-goers alert, particularly when kids or other vulnerable populations are in close proximity.
Residential pools – of which there are well over 1.1 million in Florida – are the site of 60 percent of all drownings in the Sunshine State. Still, resorts, water parks, hotels, apartment complexes, and condo associations are common sites as well. Individuals and entities can be held legally liable for drownings or other injuries if there is evidence they failed to provide proper maintenance, signage, security/fencing, or supervision.
Kids under 5 are at the highest risk of drowning deaths. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two. The vast majority of young kids who drown in Florida are out of sight for no more than 5 minutes – and 70 percent of those weren’t expected to be anywhere near a pool at the time it happened.
In addition to drowning, other types of Florida swimming pool accidents include:
- Slip-and-falls. This is probably one of the most common types of pool-related accidents, aside from drowning. Slippery concrete surfaces can be incredibly dangerous for swimmers – especially if they’re running or horsing around.
- Pool slide injuries. We see this a lot at theme parks, but Fort Myers personal injury lawyers know these can happen in private pools too. Slide malfunctions, slide disrepair, improper slide technique, or roughhousing can lead to catastrophic bodily injuries for pool goers.
- Pool toy entrapments or defective pool toys. Inflatable pool toys that get flipped or tangled can be incredibly dangerous for young children, causing them to become trapped underwater. Other types of toys that fail to function properly might cause electrocution, head injuries, spinal injuries, eye or facial injuries, etc.
- Diving board injuries. Malfunctioning diving boards or those that are misused can result in Florida swimming pool accidents of catastrophic proportions – including head, neck, and spinal trauma.
- Drain injuries. Suction force from pool drains or hot tub drains can lead to traumatic bodily injuries if some part of the body – or the hair- covers a drain portal or gets entrapped.
- Electrical defects. Water and electricity do NOT mix. Incorrectly installed mechanical equipment (lights, pumps, filters, jets, etc.) can cause that backyard oasis to be transformed into a death trap.
Note that even if these incidents don’t lead to drowning deaths, they can result in serious injury, including brain damage and lifelong disabilities. A recently-released report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed that fatal drownings and non-fatal drowning injuries among children under age 15 are high – about 6,400 a year nationally.
Who is Legally Responsible for Florida Swimming Pool Injuries?
Potentially liable parties in swimming pool injuries will depend heavily on the facts of the case. It’s a good idea to talk to a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.
Some possibilities for legal action may exist against:
- Property Owner: The owner of the swimming pool may be liable if they failed to properly maintain the pool, neglected to provide necessary safety measures, or didn’t adequately warn visitors of potential dangers.
- Pool Operator: If the pool is operated by a separate entity or individual, such as a lifeguard or a pool management company, they may bear some responsibility for accidents that occur due to their negligence or failure to follow safety protocols.
- Contractors or Maintenance Companies: If the accident was caused by a defect in the pool’s construction or maintenance, the contractors or maintenance companies involved in building or servicing the pool may be held liable.
- Visitors or Users: In some cases, the responsibility for an accident may fall partially or entirely on the person using the pool, especially if their actions contributed to the incident or if they disregarded safety instructions or warnings.
- Product Manufacturer/Distributor. If a faulty toy, device, or product caused the accident or exacerbated its seriousness, the maker and/or seller of that product may be held responsible.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or suffered a fatal injury in a Florida swimming pool accident, we can answer your legal questions and help you start to explore your legal options.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Naples, or Key West, contact Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free initial consultation.