Swimming Pool Liability
In summer, more and more Florida residents are finding their way to local swimming pools. While swimming has proven to be a good way to cool off, get exercise, and provide hours of fun for children, it can also be dangerous, leading to serious injuries and even death. When these tragic accidents could have been prevented but for a negligent pool owner, lifeguard, or employee responsible, the at-fault parties can be held liable by the injured party or his or her family members. Unfortunately for injured parties, filing these types of claims is notoriously difficult, especially if the swimming pool in question was owned by a municipality, so if you or your child were injured in a swimming pool accident, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced premises liability attorney who is well-versed in state law and can ensure that your claim is filed properly and on time.
Owners of both public and private swimming pools are required to take certain steps in maintaining their properties, so those who fail to do so can be held liable under the legal theory of premises liability if their failure resulted in an injury to a third party. The level of care that a swimming pool owner must use, however, is not always the same, but depends on the status of the injured party. Public pool owners, for instance, are required to use the greatest level of care in repairing and maintaining their premises so as to prevent injuries to invited guests. This includes the obligation to:
- Provide supervision;
- Provide access to emergency equipment;
- Post warning signs about pool hazards; and
- Keep the pool and surrounding areas clean and clear of debris.
Private pool owners do not have to adhere to such strict standards, although they are obligated to warn invited guests of any hazards that are not obvious to visitors. Generally, trespassers are not owed a duty of care at all, unless the injured party is a child, in which case, a private pool owner can be held liable for failing to fence in his or her pool, cover it when not in use, or install alarms on doors and windows that provide direct access to the water.
Florida Liability Deadlines
Even individuals with valid premises liability claims could miss out on the opportunity to recover compensation for their losses if they fail to file their suits before the expiration of Florida’s statute of limitations. Generally, those who are injured in swimming pool accidents in Florida have four years from the date of their accident to file a claim against the negligent party who caused their injury, unless the victim passed away as a result of his or her injuries, in which case, that individual’s surviving relatives only have two years from the date of the death to file a claim in court. Plaintiffs whose claims are filed after this deadline will almost always have their cases dismissed, leaving them to face mounting medical debt and related monetary losses on their own.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered a pool injury as a result of the pool owner’s negligence, you may have grounds to seek damages compensating you for your losses. For the guidance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney, please call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today.