Fort Lauderdale Swimming Pool Accident Attorney
Across the U.S., drowning is the primary cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4. According to the Florida Department of Health, the state has the nation’s highest rate of drowning deaths for children ages one to four. Among children younger than 15, three-quarters of drowning deaths occurred at a private, residential swimming pool. The CDC reports that in addition to every fatal accident, emergency room doctors treat five additional children for swimming pool injuries every year.
Swimming pool accidents can have disastrous and even fatal consequences. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a swimming pool accident, you need help. A Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident lawyer at The Levin Firm can explain your legal options and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
About The Levin Firm
The attorneys at The Levin Firm represent individuals who sustained injuries in preventable accidents. We have experience settling personal injury claims and premises liability claims for favorable amounts, and we regularly win cases at trial. Whether your case settles quickly or goes through prolonged litigation, you’re in good hands at The Levin Firm.
Our award-winning attorneys have garnered recognition from national legal organizations, including Super Lawyers, Avvo, and the National Trial Lawyers Association. Our zealous advocacy has earned us a reputation throughout the legal community, and insurance companies know that when we’re involved in a case, we won’t settle for unfair compensation. We pursue maximum compensation on behalf of all of our clients in every case.
We have offices conveniently located in three states; despite our size, we provide personalized services at each of our offices, including our Fort Lauderdale office. If you sustained injuries in a Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, during which you can discuss your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Why Hire Us?
When you suffer serious injuries in a swimming pool accident, you have enough to worry about without occupying yourself with the legal complexities of an injury claim. You should retain an attorney to handle your case so that you can focus your efforts on recovering from your injuries. At The Levin Firm, we have experience representing individuals who have sustained injuries and wish to pursue compensation to cover their medical costs, their pain and suffering, and more.
Take a look at our client testimonials page to get an idea of our past clients’ satisfaction with our legal services. Look at our case results page to see how we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
When you retain an attorney, you can rest assured knowing that your attorney will handle building you a strong legal case by researching the relevant laws, interviewing experts, and negotiating with at-fault insurance companies on your behalf. All the while, you can focus all of your efforts on recovering from your injuries and getting back to work and back on your feet.
Whether your case settles quickly or takes more time than anyone would like, the legal team at The Levin Firm will continue advocating on your behalf and protecting your legal rights to compensation. Without an attorney, the at-fault parties in your case may attempt to offer you a lowball settlement that doesn’t fully reflect the true value of your case. When you retain us, however, we can protect you and fight for a better settlement offer.
Contact The Levin Firm today for a free consultation and to determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for your swimming pool accident injuries.
What are the different types of Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accidents?
Swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the U.S. According to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, there are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States. More than 40 percent of them are in Florida and California. Swimming all year is one of the great delights of living in Florida. Unfortunately, swimming pools also pose risks.
There are, on average, an estimated 6,700 pool- or spa-related, nonfatal drowning injuries each year, and 379 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings of children ages 15 and under.
Common types of accidents include:
- Drowning. Drowning victims die from suffocation caused by aspirating water. If the victim dies within 24 hours after submersion, it is a drowning accident.
- Near drowning. If the victim lives for more than 24 hours after submersion, the accident is a near-drowning.
- Drowning by entrapment. Drain entrapment or entanglement can happen when the body, limbs, hair, or clothing become entangled in a faulty drain.
- Pool toy entrapment. Swimmers can become trapped underwater when inflatable pool toys unexpectedly flip or tangle.
- Diving or diving board injuries. Diving in shallow water or from faulty diving boards may result in severe head or spinal injuries and paralysis.
- Swimming pool slide injuries. These are the second most common cause of serious injury in a swimming pool. Injuries are most likely to occur when the slide drops into a shallow part of the pool, or they slide down headfirst.
- Slips and falls. There are slippery surfaces everywhere in pool areas. Swimmers who are just playing around and having fun may actually engage in risky behaviors that can lead to dangerous falls.
- Electrical defects. There is a surprising amount of electricity present in a pool area, including underwater lights, electric pool equipment, or electrical outlets. These may malfunction. Wet people and wet surfaces, combined with electricity, are extremely hazardous.
Are there different types of drowning?
We tend to think that all drownings are alike. However, some types of drowning are not as obvious as the active, hands-flailing drowning we usually see in the movies. In reality, most types of drowning are fast, subtle, and silent. Not all drowning situations are alike.
Some types of drowning include:
- Wet drowning. In a wet drowning, the swimmer’s lungs fill up, and they cannot breathe.
- Dry drowning. In dry drowning, the person breathes in water, but then the larynx spasms so that no air gets into the lungs.
- Secondary drowning. After a person is submerged, water gets into the lungs, lingers, and more fluids build up. Symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain, may not show up until hours later or even the next day.
- Near-drowning. Near drowning occurs when a person almost dies from suffocating underwater. Even if the person does not die, they should receive medical attention as soon as possible.
What is the law in Fort Lauderdale regarding swimming pools?
While there are guidelines, regulations, and laws in place to prevent drowning accidents, they still occur. States and cities have specific laws for constructing and maintaining swimming pools. Research shows that supervision is essential to preventing drowning accidents and injuries. Therefore, if supervision is unavailable, the pool and pool area should have appropriate safety features. In 2000, the Florida Legislature enacted the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act to combat the significantly high rate of drownings and death in the state. In addition, the Virginia Graeme Baker Act sets forth suction entrapment avoidance devices in pools, spas, and hot tubs.
The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act requires swimming pools to install at least one of these safety measures:
- The pool must have isolated access from the home according to pool barrier requirements.
- The pool barrier must be a minimum of four feet in height and not easily climbed.
- The pool must be equipped with an approved safety cover.
- All doors and entrances to the pool area must have self-closing and self-latching devices at 54 inches or higher.
- Any doors/windows with direct access to the pool must have exit alarms.
- The pool must be equipped with a pool alarm that sounds when someone enters the water.
If the residential pool owner chooses to use a barrier, the barrier must be at least four feet high.
Other requirements include:
- There should be no “openings, indentions, protrusions or structural components” so that a child could get through the barrier.
- The barrier should be located around the perimeter of the pool, separate from any other fences or walls in the yard unless those barriers meet the stated requirements and do not have openings to access the pool.
- There should not be any way to climb over the barrier.
- Sufficient distance between the barrier and the edge of the water.
- Gates must be self-closing and latching. They must open outward, away from the pool.
Public swimming pools and other commercial pools have additional requirements, including an anti-entrapment system, a safety vacuum release system, four-foot-high fencing, slip-resistant decks and walkways, ladders, steps, or swim-outs in designated areas, a secure room for chemical storage.
Who may be liable in a Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident?
To recover compensation for a swimming pool or drowning accident, you must prove liability and negligence. Determining liability depends on where the accident happened and if a product involved in the accident was defective. In addition to the property owner or tenant of the property, others may be at fault. They include neighborhood associations, recreational centers, hotels, and day camps. Under the law, these parties must ensure safe conditions to protect guests who visit their property, and when they fail to do so, you can hold them liable.
Swimming pool accidents often involve premises liability. This concept deals with risks resulting from an unsafe situation on someone else’s property. Pools are wonderful, but they come with responsibilities. Pool owners are responsible for maintaining a safe area for people of all ages to swim. Therefore, they must make a reasonable effort to keep the swimming pool in good repair, restrict access to the pool and warn visitors of known hazards, such as a broken diving board. Florida’s property owners of pools, spas, and hot tubs, have a duty to maintain their premises, whether they are residential, public, or commercial, in a reasonably safe condition and to warn others of any dangers they know or should know.
According to Florida Statute § 768.075, you may be entitled to damages for injuries you suffered at someone else’s pool in certain circumstances, such as:
- You were an invited guest;
- You were a discovered trespasser, meaning the property owner knew about your presence at least 24 hours before the injury occurred but did not remove any hazards or provide a warning of dangers; or
- A child who suffered an injury in an attractive nuisance.
An attractive nuisance is an object or condition on a property that makes children curious and drawn to the property. Pools are very enticing to children and are therefore a common attractive nuisance. Pools tempt children, who often fail to understand the risks.
In addition to the pool owner, other liable parties could include:
- A designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of a defective product, such as a pool filter or safety device that resulted in a pool accident;
- A pool maintenance company, if they added too many or too few chemicals or failed to maintain the pool in a safe condition; or
- A third-party guest, if they acted recklessly and caused an accident.
What is negligence in a Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident?
Negligence may lead to drowning deaths and other injuries. Negligence may consist of failure to properly supervise a child, failure to properly fence in the pool, or failure to maintain the pool safely.
The four elements of negligence are:
- Duty: The pool owner owes a duty to visitors. For invited guests, the owner must maintain the pool area in a safe condition and warn of hazards.
- Breach: If the pool owner does not fulfill their duty by, for example, failing to comply with safety regulations, they have breached their duty.
- Causation: The injured person must show that the pool owner’s actions directly caused their injuries.
- Damages: Because of the injury, the person suffered damages.
What types of compensation might be available in Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accidents?
In Florida, drowning happens in both residential and public pools year-round. However, most swimming injuries occur during the spring and summer. The nature of those injuries is often severe. Most swimming pool drowning victims experience serious brain damage after just three minutes underwater, which can result in ongoing health issues including difficulty with cognitive and memory function. More than 50 percent of drowning victims treated at an emergency room were either hospitalized or transferred to another facility for further care.
On average, medical costs for young near-drowning victims can range from more than $8,000 for initial hospital treatment to over $250,000 each year if the victim requires long-term care. If the drowning-related injury results in brain damage, the overall cost of medical treatment and work and quality of life losses could be as much as $5.5 million.
The injured person may seek compensation for:
- Medical and hospital expenses;
- Loss of earnings;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Other expenses resulting from the injury.
After a swimming pool death, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, the loss of companionship for family members, funeral expenses, and other losses.
How can a Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident attorney at the Levin Firm help me?
All lawsuits have strict filing deadlines, so consult our attorneys as soon as possible after the accident. If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a swimming pool accident, you need our knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale swimming pool accident lawyers by your side. We can handle every element of your claim for you, taking all of that burden away and put you in the best possible position to recover financial compensation for your losses.
For more information or a free consultation, please call the experienced, dedicated lawyers at The Levin Firm at (954) 715-3260 or contact us online.