Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
Florida has some of the best weather in the United States, with warm weather most of the year, almost no snow, and very little frost. It’s no wonder why so many Floridians have a swimming pool. There are over 10 million swimming pools in the United States, and Florida is only second to Arizona with the most swimming pools, with almost 1.1 million pools.
With such a high proliferation of swimming pools comes an increase in the number of dangers and accidents. According to Florida Health, 2013 was the year with the most unintentional drownings for children between the age of one and four and came in second for unintentional drownings for children between the age of one and fourteen.
Florida clearly has too many accidents in swimming pools involving children each year. If someone you love was injured in a swimming pool accident, or a child drowned because someone failed to protect them from the dangers, then compensation may be available. Call a swimming pool accident lawyer today. The Hialeah swimming pool accident attorneys at Schlacter Law understand how important our children are, and will fight hard to help you recover from an unfortunate accident.
How Swimming Pool Accidents Happen in Hialeah
Most swimming pool accidents in Hialeah occur when someone fails in their duty to protect someone from the danger of a pool. Hialeah homeowners, for example, have a duty to protect visitors on their property from any dangers, even in cases where a visitor is trespassing. Failing to take care to prevent harm can make a homeowner liable for any injuries that result.
Failing to protect someone on your land from an accident when you have a duty to do so is considered negligence. To prove negligence in court, there are four elements that need to be present. These are:
- The homeowner owed a duty of care to someone on their land
- The homeowner breached this duty
- The homeowner was the proximate cause of an injury
- The visitor on their property indeed suffered some kind of injury
Additionally, when a landowner fails to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, or if they fail to warn of a dangerous condition, this may also be considered negligence under Florida’s premises liability doctrine. Premises liability would hold a landowner responsible for any injuries that occur on their property. Generally, the status of a visitor on the property would determine what duty would be owed to that visitor. There are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
In general, there is a stronger duty owed to an invitee than any other visitor on a property. The duty owed in Florida is to warn of any known dangerous conditions and to keep the property reasonably well maintained. Additionally, an invitee should be warned of any dangers that might not be obvious to the licensee, or might only be known to the landowner.
A licensee is generally not owed a duty of care unless they were invited onto the property to benefit the landowner. In cases where they were invited, the same duty owed to an invitee is required. However, when a licensee is on a property for their own benefit, the owner is under no duty to keep the premises safe.
Trespassers are the third class of visitor on a property. Trespassers have not been invited onto the property, and are there for their own personal gain. A typical example is a burglar who enters a property to rob it. Trespassers are afforded the least duty of care. A property owner is simply required to refrain from causing reckless harm to a trespasser, such as setting a trap with the intent to injure a trespasser.
There is however an exception for certain types of trespassers on someone’s property, and this exception relates to swimming pools. The attractive nuisance doctrine was created to protect vulnerable classes of visitors on a property, even when they do not have permission to be there.
Determining the class of a visitor on a property is essential in determining if and when a landowner is liable for an injury caused by a swimming pool accident. It is important to have a Hialeah swimming pool accident lawyer review the circumstances surrounding an accident to help determine if a landowner is liable, and if so, how to proceed in seeking adequate compensation.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
It is important that any discussion surrounding a swimming pool accident has an understanding of this important doctrine. In its attempt to protect certain classes of victims, Florida has enacted the attractive nuisance doctrine. This doctrine would eliminate any protection from liability for a landowner who failed to protect a vulnerable class from a dangerous condition that would likely attract this class of victim onto the property in the first place, even when they are trespassing.
Examples of attractive nuisances include swimming pools but might also include swing sets, trampolines, discarded appliances, and treehouses. Because these types of hazards tend to attract children, the law places an added burden on a landowner to protect children from harm.
In an attempt to specifically name attractive nuisances for purposes of premises liability, Florida has defined public nuisances in Florida Statutes, §823.08. These nuisances include “abandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators, deep-freeze lockers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, or similar airtight units from which the doors have not been removed.”
In order for a landowner to protect themselves from liability concerning an attractive nuisance, it is imperative that steps are taken to protect children from the harm created by the nuisance. Failing to do so would mean that even if a child trespassed onto a property and was injured, the landowner would still be liable.
If you suspect your child was not given permission to be on someone’s property but was injured there, compensation might still be available. A Hialeah swimming pool accident lawyer with an understanding of premises liability and attractive nuisances can assist you and your child by helping to get compensation to cover the injury.
The Florida Swimming Pool Safety Act
In an effort to protect children and medically frail elderly residents in the state from drowning in swimming pools, Florida has enacted specific legislation related to swimming pools. Florida Statutes, §515, defines the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, and its primary purpose is to place requirements on property owners to ensure that both visitors and trespassers on their property are safe from the dangers of swimming pools.
As such, the legislation’s intent is that “all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature as specified [in the statute].” The list of approved safety features includes:
- An approved safety pool cover that is “manually or power-operated” and “meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials”
- A “fence, dwelling wall, or non-dwelling wall, or any combination thereof, which completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool”
- An exit alarm that “makes audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window… is opened or left ajar”
When a landowner fails to follow this statute, they commit a second-degree misdemeanor, although the charge might be dismissed if the pool has been properly equipped with a safety feature within 45 days of being issued the penalty.
The statute has also worked to develop drowning prevention educational programs for the public to help residents of Florida understand the dangers of swimming pools and accidental drownings. Overall, the purpose of the statute is to protect vulnerable populations, such as young children from drowning, even in cases where they trespassed onto a property. Where a trespasser is typically afforded no duty of care, a landowner is required under this statute to protect trespassers from these types of attractive nuisances.
If your child or loved one was injured in a pool, compensation may be available. In these cases, it is important to establish if a landowner properly complied with the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act by ensuring that their pool was protected by one or more of the required safety features. If it wasn’t, they may be liable for any injuries that happened on their property.
A Hialeah swimming pool accident attorney has the experience to help evaluate the circumstances following an accident in a swimming pool. Whether it was a young child or a medically frail elderly person, it is the responsibility of a landowner to ensure that an attractive nuisance is properly secured, and failing to do so may open them up to liability. Call a Hialeah swimming pool accident lawyer today for a consultation so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you were partly to blame for your injuries you might still be entitled to compensation. This doctrine is known as comparative negligence and reduces any compensation a victim would normally receive by the portion of blame attributed to them. If, for example, you were going to receive an award for $100,000, but the court finds that you were 10% responsible for the accident, then your award would be reduced by $10,000.
Determining the amount of compensation you can expect to receive is extremely difficult to ascertain without first evaluating the circumstances that led to the accident and calculating the costs associated with an injury. Compensation might include medical bills, lost wages, and the value of any pain and suffering, as well as numerous other costs associated with the injury. To help determine the amount of compensation you can expect to receive, talk with a Schlacter Law attorney today.
The attractive nuisance doctrine requires landowners to protect even trespassers from injuries on their property. This certainly would include swimming pools. The statute was designed to protect children in particular. If you or a child were injured while on someone else’s land you may still be entitled to compensation. Contact a Hialeah attorney today.