Who is liable in the case of a pool accident injury or accidental drowning in the state of Florida?
In most cases, property owners are liable for an accident in a swimming pool. This is the case whether the accident occurred at a private residence, public pool, or private club. However, this does not suggest that all accidents are the fault of property owners. Whether the property owner was liable depends on the circumstances of your accident, how well the pool was maintained, and why you were on the property.
If you have been injured in someone else’s pool and believe it happened due to negligence, the defendant may face two different types of charges. The Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA) holds that a breach of the Act is a second-degree misdemeanor, which only carries a sentence of up to 60 days in jail plus a $500 fine. However, in addition to the criminal charges, you will still generally be able to file a civil lawsuit against the defendant based in negligence – that is, arguing that if not for the defendant’s negligence, your injuries would not have occurred. In this case, you will need an experienced Pensacola swimming accident lawyer like Joe Zarzaur.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal principle that holds people or entities accountable for injuries caused by their wrongdoing. Every person in society has a duty to act with reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. When the failure to take reasonable care results in injury to another person, a person or entity will be held financially responsible for the damages suffered by the victim.
In order to succeed on a claim based on negligence, the victim must prove the elements of negligence. The victim must prove that the wrongdoer owed them a duty of care. For example, if the swimming pool is on public property, the property manager has a duty to maintain the pool and regularly inspect it for possible harmful conditions. Public swimming pools must also adhere to labeling standards to warn the public about certain conditions of the pool such as its depth, and other adequate warnings for pool safety. Some public swimming pools are required to have trained lifeguards on site to ensure the safety of swimmers. Where the swimming accident is related to equipment malfunction, the manufacturer or installer of the equipment may be the parties who owe the victim a duty of care.
After proving that the wrongdoer owed the victim a duty of care, the victim must prove that the wrongdoer breached their duty of care. This simply means that the wrongdoer failed to take reasonable steps to avoid causing harm to others. Their actions or omissions fell below the standard of care expected of them.
Next, the victim must prove that the wrongdoer’s breach of their duty was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. This can get complicated in some cases, but an experienced Pensacola swimming pool accident attorney has the skill required to identify the proximate cause of the victim’s injury. Where there are multiple parties that could be held responsible for your injury, it is important that they are all identified and action is taken against them all to recover the compensation you are entitled to. Your lawyer will have the resources and expertise to investigate and reveal all the responsible parties in your case.
Finally, the victim must have suffered damages because of their injury. Damages could be losses related to medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A skilled Pensacola swimming pool accident lawyer will be able to assess your case and compute the value of your damages. If you have been injured by a drowning or swimming pool accident, it is advisable that you do not accept any settlement before you speak with your lawyer. What the other party may be offering may be far below the value of your damages.
Premises liability laws
Premises liability laws require property owners to ensure the safety of visitors to their property. Specifically, premises liability requires that property owners exercise “ordinary care” when guests are on their property. And that extends to public and private pools as well. The property owner’s exercise of care differs for different classes of people on their property. They owe the highest duty of care to invitees. These are persons who have a legal right to enter the property for a purpose connected with the property owner’s business or for a purpose of mutual benefit.
As it relates to pools, property owners must meet and maintain certain safety standards. If they fail to meet these standards and you or a loved one suffers an injury, they may be liable for those injuries.
Pensacola Premises Liability Lawyer Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has returned record-setting verdicts for his clients.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.