Lake City Pool & Swimming Accident Lawyer
Swimming pool drownings are the leading cause of injury-related death for children under five. Among both children and adults, just a few minutes underneath the water is sufficient to cause a permanent and irreversible brain injury. Downing is not the only swimming pool hazard. The caustic substances used to clean pools, such as chlorine, cause chemical burns if the quantity is even a little too high. Some pools have the opposite problem. An insufficient amount of cleaning agents allow dangerous bacteria to flourish.
The aggressive Lake City pool & swimming accident lawyers at Douglas & Carter stand up for accident victims in both the courtroom and the negotiating room. In all situations, we are determined to obtain the best result possible under the circumstances. That could be a victory at trial, but in most cases, we are able to settle cases on favorable terms out of court. Simply stated, tight-fisted insurance companies do not want to face our attorneys at trial.
Pool Safety Rules in Florida
Many swimming pool injuries occur in private, backyard pools. These scenarios usually involve negligence per se, which is a violation of a safety law. Most municipalities have highly-restrictive residential swimming pool guidelines. These strict rules are designed to protect victims. In the absence of such rules, Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act normally applies. Its pool safety requirements include:
- Safety cover over the water,
- Barrier that extends all the way around the pool,
- Water alarm, and
- Self-latching gate which operates from the pool side.
Property owners are guilty of misdemeanors if their pools do not meet or exceed these safety regulations. So, if the backyard pool fails to meet any of these requirements, and that failure substantially caused the victim/plaintiff’s injury, the property owner may be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Different rules apply to commercial pools. This category includes hotel pools, apartment pools, and homeowners’ association neighborhood pools. Drains must not create riptides and lifesaving equipment must be very near the water’s edge.
State and municipal laws also control the amount of cleaning chemicals in the water at any given time. If swimming pool poisoning caused injury, an attorney must get to work quickly and test the water’s chemical content. If that’s not done, this important physical evidence may be gone forever.
The Assumption of the Risk Defense in Lake City
Some people think that signs like “No Lifeguard On Duty” or “Swim At Your Own Risk” immunize pool owners from liability. But that is not true. Instead, signage like this lays the foundation for the assumption of the risk defense. This legal loophole has two prongs:
- Voluntary assumption of
- A known risk.
Significantly, the victim must have been able to read and understand the sign. The sign must also be clearly visible and not buried on a long list of pool rules. The insurance company has the burden of proof on these points.
Count on Experienced Pool & Swimming Accident Lawyers
Swimming pool injury victims may be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lake City, contact Douglas & Carter. We routinely handle cases in Columbia County and nearby jurisdictions.