Mostly because the weather in the Sunshine State is warm (or warm-ish) most of the year, Florida leads the nation in swimming pool drownings. There are almost twice as many of these incidents in Florida as there are in Texas, which is the number two state.
Drownings are only the tip of the iceberg. Other serious injuries include chemical and mechanical poisonings. These injuries are especially a problem for vulnerable victims, such as children, or those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Because of the serious and permanent nature of these injuries, a Brandon personal injury attorney can often obtain substantial compensation in these situations. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
A few moments at the bottom of the water is sufficient to cause a permanent, or fatal, brain injury. When the brain has no oxygen, it begins shutting down parts of the body. This process begins with the extremities, like the hands and feet. In just a few seconds, vital internal organs are affected.
As mentioned, drowning is the most widely-reported type of swimming pool injury. To reduce or deny compensation, insurance company lawyers often advance the assumption of the risk defense. This legal loophole applies if the victim:
- Voluntarily assumed
- A known risk.
That first prong is almost always present. Even if someone playfully throws the victim into the pool, the victim might have voluntarily assumed the risk simply by being near the pool.
The second prong, however, is much more difficult to prove. The mere presence of a sign like “No Lifeguard on Duty” or “Swim at Your Own Risk” does not automatically establish the assumption of the risk defense. Insurance company lawyers must also prove that the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant.
Additionally, dangerous undercurrents, often caused by mechanical failures, cause many drownings. Swimmers could not possibly know about such risks until it is too late. More on this point below.
Generally, pool safety depends on a delicate balance between the pump and the drain. If water comes in too quickly, it could literally push swimmers to the bottom. If the drain is too strong, it could suck them to the bottom.
Owners do not just have a duty to provide lifesaving equipment or prevent people from falling into the water. Owners also have a duty to properly maintain pool equipment, thus ensuring safety.
Swimming pool pumps also regulate the amount of chlorine in the water. If the pump malfunctions, a chlorine gas cloud could form. These gas clouds are especially dangerous for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Another delicate balance involves these cleaning chemicals. If there is too much chlorine in the water, victims could sustain chemical burns. Chlorine is an extremely toxic and dangerous substance.
On the other hand, if there is not enough chlorine in the water, bacteria could grow and thrive. That’s especially true in hot summer months.
Many people have pre-existing conditions which make them especially vulnerable to swimming pool poisoning injuries. Thanks to the eggshell skull rule, these victims are usually entitled to full compensation.
Contact Aggressive Attorneys
Swimming pools are fun, and they are also potentially dangerous. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).