Common Swimming Pool Injuries In Florida
The Sunshine State is ground zero for fatal swimming pool drownings. More of these incidents occur in Florida than any other state. Nonfatal drownings are a serious problem as well. The swimming pool accident serious injury rate is five times higher than the serious injury rate for dog bites, falls, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries. A few moments under the water could cause a permanent brain injury. Furthermore, as outlined below, drownings are just one kind of common swimming pool injury in Tampa.
Generally, owners have a duty of care to prevent swimming pool injuries. Normally, this duty applies even if a child sneaks into a backyard pool at an unoccupied house. Likewise, manufacturers have a duty to make safe products. They are strictly liable for injuries related to a manufacturing or design defect, even if the victim wasn’t swimming safely.
In both situations, these defendants have teams of lawyers who pull out all the stops to reduce or deny compensation to victims. Therefore, swimming pool injury victims need an equally determined Tampa personal injury attorney on their side. That’s the best way, and usually the only way, to ensure maximum compensation for serious injuries.
We touched on drawing-related brain injuries above. If the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen (hypoxia), it starts shutting down parts of the body, usually beginning with the extremities and then moving to more vital organs. Once this shutdown occurs, it is irreversible. So, the victim suffers lifelong injuries in these situations.
Causation, or a connection between the drowning and the injury, is usually rather easy to establish. Negligence, or a lack of care, is a different matter.
Frequently, drownings are no-witness cases. This lack of evidence could be a problem in some situations, since victim/plaintiffs have the burden of proof. But Florida has a very broad res ipsa loquitur rule. This legal doctrine allows jurors to presume that negligence caused a drowning injury, at least in most cases.
The assumption of the risk defense often comes up in these cases. Warning signs, like “No Lifeguard on Duty,” are a staple at most swimming pools, especially public pools. However, these signs don’t protect pool owners from lawsuits. Insurance company lawyers must still establish both prongs of the assumption of the risk defense, which are a voluntary assumption of a known risk.
These elements are often difficult to prove. For example, young children and victims with limited English proficiency often cannot read or understand such signs.
Occasionally, a defective product causes a drowning. If a drain isn’t working properly, it could cause a dangerous and invisible riptide. This riptide could suck a swimmer to the bottom, especially if the victim isn’t a very strong swimmer.
Defective products could also cause swimming pool poisonings. If the pump and filter are not working in perfect harmony, a chlorine gas cloud could build up in the swimming pool’s pipes. If an unfortunate victim is near the vent when this poison gas cloud enters the atmosphere, the victim could be seriously injured.
Human error often causes swimming pool poisonings as well. The chlorine level must be just right. If the level is too low, dangerous bacteria could multiply, especially in the summer when the pool water warms. On the other end of the scale, if the chlorine level is too high, swimmers could sustain chemical burns to their ears, noses, and throats.
Both kinds of swimming pool poisonings are especially dangerous to vulnerable victims, like children and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Contact a Hard-Working Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.