Who Is Liable for Drowning?
Due to the serious nature of injuries that can result from drowning accidents-including traumatic brain injuries, long-term disabilities, and death, property owners in Florida are required by law to implement precautionary measures in order to prevent their occurrence. If you or someone you love was hurt in a Florida drowning accident, reach out to the Daytona Beach drawing accident attorney at the Law Offices of Keith C. Warnock, P.A. We are here to answer all your questions and guide you through the difficult aftermath of a drowning accident.
Contact us today to set up your free consultation.
Common Causes of Pool Accidents
The following is a list of common causes of swimming pool-related injuries and accidents:
- Lack of supervision of young children or weak swimmers
- Nonfunctional or damaged entry gates or pool barriers
- Lack of proper maintenance of pool or surrounding areas
- The absence of safety signs, such as those that prohibit diving and running
- Nonfunctional or damaged filter systems
- Broken glass or pool lights
- Inaccurate maintenance of chemical or water levels
Types of Drowning
Contrary to common belief, there are actually several types of drowning, all of which can led to death or a serious injury. While most drowning injuries happen immediately, some can take up to a day to show themselves. The different types of drowning include:
- Wet drowning
- Dry drowning
- Secondary drowning
- Near drowning
Dry Drowning Vs Wet Drowning
Wet drowning occurs when the lungs fill with water, rendering an individual unable to breathe. In a dry drowning, an individual's lungs do not fill with water; instead, the person breathes in a small portion of water, which causes the larynx to close, making it impossible to take in oxygen.
The most common type of drowning is wet drowning. Splashing, shouting, and other more passive signs may indicate that a person is drowning. In some cases, wet drowning results in death.
A secondary drowning is one that may not become apparent until well after an event in the water—sometimes not for a full day. The process of this type of drowning begins when water enters and remains in the lungs, irritating the lining of the lungs. This eventually leads to the buildup of additional fluid in the lungs, causing an increased respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest pain.
When an individual is submerged in water and unable to breathe for a prolonged period of time, they may suffer from a near drowning. These types of drownings often occur when individuals are in water yet unable to swim or remain calm, consume alcohol before or during activities near or in water, or have a medical event while in or near water. Due to the lack of sufficient amounts of oxygen for prolonged periods of time, near death drownings can result in brain damage, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or pneumonia.
As compared to residential pools, commercial pool standards are much higher. The following is a list of features that public swimming pools must have:
- An approved anti-entrapment system
- A blockage-detection system designed to stop operation and reverse the flow of a pool when necessary
- Fences containing self-closing and latching gates at least four feet in height
- Deck and walkways with slip-resistant surfaces that are at least four feet wide
- Ladders for entering and/or exiting the pool along the perimeter of the pool spaced 75 feet apart
- A secure storage room for chemicals that requires authorized entrance
Liability for Swimming Pool Drowning in Florida
If a commercial pool owner does not ensure a safe environment for entrants to the pool, then they could be held legally responsible for the damages or injuries that result from accidents in or around the pool. An individual who has suffered an injury from a swimming pool accident may have a personal injury lawsuit on their hands. When filed as a result of a swimming pool accident, these types of lawsuits are based on the concept of premises liability, which maintains that if a property owner's negligence contributed to injuries sustained on their property, then they may be held liable.
In this context, a lack of supervision, improper or malfunctioning equipment, a lack of warning signs, and the absence of proper barriers could all result in a claim of negligence. However, it would have to be proven that the owner indeed breached their duty to maintain a safe pool environment.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Due to the complicated and difficult nature of swimming pool accident laws in Florida, an individual who finds themselves dealing with a swimming pool accident case will need the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can identify and present the necessary details in order to obtain compensation for the injuries suffered.
For more information on drowning and near drowning accidents in Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (386) 223-1651 today.