Children May Be At Risk In Florida Pools
Florida is not called the Sunshine State for no reason. During a large part of the year, the benefits of having access to a pool become apparent to everyone that has such a luxury. Most of the time, pools provide a cool, refreshing, and safe environment for adults and children alike to relax in and enjoy. But what happens when an exciting day at the pool turns into a tragic one. That is exactly what happened to two small children last month in Holly Hill, Florida.
According to various news agencies, police and medical personnel were dispatched to a home in Volusia County last Thursday after an adult female called 911 reporting that she had found the two children that she was caring for unresponsive. Although the Florida Department of Children and Families have started an extensive investigation, the report from the Volusia County Coroner’s Office stated that both of the toddlers that were found died from drowning. Aerial photographs show that there is a large in-ground pool located in the family’s backyard. News reports indicate that the children that were found unresponsive were the child and grandchild of the 911 caller. She is currently under criminal investigation.
Although this type of accident is indeed a tragedy, it happens all too often in the state of Florida. Children are quick to make their way to a pool without regard to whether there are parents or lifeguards there to watch them. And although there is much to be said about teaching your child how to be safe around pools, many of these accidents could be prevented by the owners or operators of the pools themselves. It is this reality that allows those whose children are injured or killed in pool accidents to potentially recover for the damage caused.
First, those businesses or homeowners who invite children onto their property in order to use a pool owe the pool-goers a duty of care. Although the duty does not require that lifeguards be provided, they should at least post warnings that lifeguards will not be present. If lifeguards are indeed present, it is the duty of the lifeguard to do everything that they can to ensure the safety of the users of the pool. Even if the lifeguard is negligent in supervising children, the owner of the property may be held vicariously liable for any injuries caused by such negligence.
A Pool May Be An Attractive Nuisance
Second, a homeowner may still be held liable for injuries suffered by children that fall into a pool even if the child was not invited onto the premises. Florida courts have long-recognized the attractive nuisance doctrine; a legal theory that holds owners of a property with a pool (as well as other potentially-dangerous improvements) liable for the injuries suffered by children if they knew or had reason to know that children may trespass in the area and the child was too young to be able to appreciate the risk posed by the pool or other improvement. A property owner may protect him or herself by safeguarding a pool by installing a gate around the pool itself or take other steps to ensure the safety of a child that comes upon the pool.
Generally, accidents involving children and pools can be very complicated and often require a great deal of investigation before it can be determined who is at fault. If your child was involved in an accident involving a swimming pool, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The skilled professionals at the Tallahassee law firm of Barrett, Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience getting injured clients just like you what they deserve. Give us a call today to set up your free initial consultation at (866) 346-4186 or (850) 224-3310.