Tampa area’s beautiful weather is always warm and inviting, with swimming pools everywhere, used by residents in their homes, students at school facilities, residents at community pools and visitors at hotels and resorts in the area.  A beautiful afternoon can quickly turn into a devastating event when someone is hurt near, or in a swimming pool, sometimes negatively impacting livelihoods or ending them.  A toddler drowned in a family pool in Tarpon Springs near Tampa this Spring, and was ruled an accident.  Homeowners insurance or property insurance policies may or may not cover drowning accidents, depending on the policy and situation. This can be a complicated issue because many insurance companies do not want to pay out claims if they can find a way to avoid it, and since the drowning death was a resident in the home, it is even more complicated.

Injury related to pools.

Personal injury lawyers in Florida are all too familiar with legal actions revolving around injuries due to swimming pool accidents.  If you are uncertain if you have a cause of action, you should consult with an attorney regarding the particulars of your case. If there was some defect in the pool that caused the child to drown, such as bad pumps or cracked tiles, a possible third party action could ensue.  If the death was due to lack of supervision then there is no one to fault.
Accidents surrounding swimming pool activities are commonplace in Florida including diving and drowning accidents involving children more often than adults.  In accordance with the Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, every action to safeguard from drowning deaths in young children and frail elderly people in Florida should be taken by assuring constant adult supervision, or pool safety features that deny or detect unsupervised entry to pool areas, in the hopes of a reduction in drowning and near-drowning accidents.

Negligence.

Florida pool owners must install barricades, fencing, or locked doors to prevent curious children from accidentally falling into the pool and drowning. Lack of safety measures to prevent trespassing children may be considered negligence, if the property owner knew or reasonably should have known of the risks and did not take remedy them.

Prevention.

Measures to prevent accidents.  Install four-sided fencing that is at least 4 feet high, separating the pool area from the house and yard.  Self-closing and latching gates out of children’s reach or automatic door locks and alarms could assist in keeping people out and alerting you if they get in.  The pool deck should be clear of clutter including toys, floats, balls so that people will not trip on them, and so that children will not have an interest in going into a pool area without adult supervision.

Statute of limitations.

Florida lawsuits that are seeking compensation for personal injury allows four years from the date of an accident to file a civil lawsuit.  You must file the claim within that time period or the court will refuse to hear your case.  Sometimes a person is now aware of an injury they sustained and will not find out about it until some time in the future, but if the injury can be proven to be due to the accident and since it was not “discovered” until a certain time, the filing window may be extended in certain cases. Accidental drowning can lead to coma, death, and brain injuries causing a lifetime of medical treatment and a reduction in the enjoyment of the activities of daily living.

Wrongful death claims. 

A pool accident causing drowning may be deemed an act of negligence.  Compensation may be available to address negative effects on income, funeral expenses, and emotional suffering.  Wrongful death claims have a two- year statute of limitations.

Legal counsel.

Hire a personal injury attorney at Larson Johnson Law Offices in Tampa to help you with any possible claim to the insurance for your family loss against your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Larson Johnson, P.L.
Tampa Office
2011 West Cleveland Street
Tampa, Florida 33606
Phone: 813-228-6688
Fax: 813-228-6699
Sources:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0515/0515.html
Florida 768.19 Wrongful Death