Summer is in full swing and with it, record-high temperatures. A common favorite way to beat the heat is by swimming in a pool or just hanging out poolside. But what happens if you are injured when you are enjoying a friend’s pool? Or, what if you slip and fall at the hotel pool while you are on vacation?
The simple answer is that generally, someone injured in or around another’s pool can bring a civil lawsuit against the owner of the pool. Owners have a legal obligation to keep the pool and surrounding areas reasonably safe for individuals who use them. If the conditions are unreasonably unsafe, then the owner can be held liable for the damages that the victim suffered.
Unfortunately, swimming pools and their surrounding areas can be extremely dangerous if the owner of the pool fails to protect their guests from injuries. Swimming pool accidents can be devastating for victims and may lead to long-term injuries or even death. If you have been injured, call a Miami personal injury lawyer at Lavent Law, P.A. today for assistance.
Common Swimming Pool Injuries
Drowning is a real threat with swimming pools, especially for children as it is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 4. In these cases, parents of a child drowning victim can file a wrongful death claim against the pool owner.
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Spinal injuries
- Loss of memory
- Severe brain damage
- Permanent vegetative state, and
- Other injuries.
Being injured in a slip and fall accident can cause serious and permanent damage to your body as well as to your finances, as some injuries require extensive medical treatment and prevent the victim from returning to work. In some cases, victims may even suffer from permanent disability.
Florida’s Premises Liability Laws
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella term premises liability. Both private owners and businesses have certain legal obligations to pool users. These legal obligations are divided into two categories: those that are required by state law and those that are upheld under civil negligence laws.
Florida state law requires that any owner of a pool, whether private or commercial, has to have at least one of the following safety measures in place:
- A surrounding fence that is a minimum of four feet tall;
- Alarms on all doors and windows;
- All exterior doors leading to the swimming pool have latches at a minimum of 54 inches high; or
- An approved safety cover.
Failure to have one of the above safety features can help prove one of the most important elements of a premises liability claim: negligence.
To win a slip and fall accident case, you must be able to prove all of the following under premises liability law:
- That the person being sued (the defendant) either owned or was in control of the pool and surrounding area;
- The defendant had a duty to keep you safe from foreseeable harm;
- The defendant was negligent in the use of, or maintenance of the pool and surrounding areas
- You were injured;
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injury
Understanding what you have to prove in order to win your lawsuit will give you a better framework for understanding the steps you need to take after being injured in a slip and fall.
Another factor that will impact your case is your user status at the time of the accident. Whether you were an invitee (users who were invited by the owner or users of a business’ pool), a licensee (someone on the premises for social purposes only), or a trespasser (someone who is present without the owner’s consent) at the time of the accident can make a big difference in the case’s outcome.
It’s also important to note that Florida is a comparative fault state meaning that you can only recover compensation up to the point of when your own actions were a factor in your injury.