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Florida Swimming Pool Accident: What to Do & When to Sue

a person drowning in a swimming pool in Miami, FL

A day at the pool should be fun and relaxing. Unfortunately, swimming pool accidents can happen in a flash, leaving victims with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. Unfortunately, swimming pool accidents are not uncommon. The good news is that in many cases, victims who are injured due to someone else’s negligence can start a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Here at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we understand the emotional and financial hardships these accidents can cause. That’s why we want to equip you with the knowledge you need to stay safe and, in the unfortunate event of an accident, what steps to take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

Swimming pools offer a great way to cool off and have fun in the Florida heat. But it’s important to remember that they also come with potential dangers. Here are some common situations that can lead to swimming pool accidents:

  • Lack of Supervision: Young children are naturally curious and playful. Around a pool, this can be a recipe for disaster. Without constant supervision, they may run near the pool’s edge, increasing the risk of slips and falls. Additionally, their swimming skills might still be developing, making them vulnerable to drowning in even shallow water. Never leave a young child unattended near a pool, and consider using Coast Guard-approved life jackets for extra safety.
  • Missing or Faulty Safety Equipment: Proper pool barriers are essential. Fences with self-closing latches should isolate the pool area, preventing unsupervised access. Safety equipment like life jackets or pool noodles can provide an extra layer of protection for young swimmers. However, some pool owners may not have these necessary safeguards in place, leaving swimmers exposed.

Beyond missing equipment, inadequate pool maintenance can introduce hidden hazards:

  • Uneven Surfaces and Loose Tiles: Poorly maintained pool decks and walkways can become slippery when wet, especially with loose tiles or uneven surfaces. This significantly increases the risk of slip-and-fall accidents for anyone using the pool area.
  • Improper Chemical Levels: Maintaining the correct chlorine or bromine levels is crucial to prevent harmful bacteria and parasites from thriving in the pool water. While automatic chemical feeders are often used, they’re not foolproof. Water temperature, pH levels, and sunlight exposure can all affect the effectiveness of chlorine. This is especially true for shallow wading pools and hot tubs, which are more prone to chemical imbalances due to their smaller volume and warmer temperatures. Improper chemical levels can lead to irritation, discomfort, and even illnesses caused by bacteria or parasites.

One concerning element these accidents share is the potential for quick escalation. A slip and fall can lead to a head injury, and a seemingly harmless chemical imbalance can cause discomfort that restricts movement and increases the risk of drowning.

Less Common But Serious Pool Hazards

While most pool accidents involve drowning, slips, and chemical exposure, there are other, less frequent dangers to be aware of:

  • Diving Board Accidents: Diving boards can be a fun addition to a pool, but they also come with inherent risks. Improper use, like jumping into shallow water or diving headfirst in an unfamiliar pool, can lead to serious injuries like neck and spinal cord damage.
  • Pool Drain Entrapment: This is a rare but terrifying incident, particularly for young children. Drain suction can trap hair, loose clothing, or even skin, holding someone underwater. Federal safety regulations require specific drain covers to prevent such entrapment.
  • Electrical Mishaps: Faulty pool lights, wiring, or nearby appliances can pose a serious electrical hazard. It’s crucial to maintain all electrical components around the pool area and ensure they are properly grounded to prevent shock or electrocution.

Grounds for a Swimming Pool Accident Lawsuit in Florida

Swimming pool accidents can lead to personal injury lawsuits against negligent parties based on the concept of “premises liability.” This legal principle states that property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of anyone they invite onto their property. In the context of swimming pools, this means taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents. 

If a pool owner failed to properly supervise young children or vulnerable individuals around the pool, and this resulted in an accident, they could be held liable. This could be grounds for a lawsuit filed by a personal injury attorney on behalf of the injured victim.

Also, the absence of fences, self-closing latches on gates, or malfunctioning diving boards, together with uneven surfaces, loose tiles, or slippery pool decks due to poor maintenance could all be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if they contributed to the accident.

Another basis for a personal injury lawsuit can be if the pool’s water chemistry is not balanced properly, leading to unsafe conditions like excessive chlorine causing irritation or inadequate sanitation allowing bacteria to thrive. A personal injury lawyer can help determine if these factors were present and contributed to your injuries.

In cases of entrapment, an accident might be caused by a defective product and a personal injury lawsuit likely will be against the product manufacturer or distributor. 

It’s important to remember that these are just some examples, and the specific grounds for a lawsuit will depend on the unique circumstances of each case. Consulting with personal injury lawyers experienced in swimming pool accidents is crucial to determine if you have a valid case and the best course of action.

Protect Your Rights: Take Action After a Swimming Pool Accident

Don’t wait to seek justice after a swimming pool accident. Florida law limits the time to file a personal injury claim to just 2 years from the accident date. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, our Miami personal injury attorneys understand the challenges swimming pool accident victims face. We’ve successfully helped numerous clients recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Call us today for a free consultation at 305-371-2692. Remember, we work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.