Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
The Francis Law Group
With the heat hitting the state of Florida year-round, it's not uncommon to see outdoor pools and ponds in people's yards. While water features can help to keep things cool, they can also pose a hazard. Water-related injuries are some of the most serious injury types there are, and can lead to death or permanent impairment.
The Dangers of a Drowning or Near-drowning Accident
Unintentional drowning is a significant problem in the United States, and one that especially affects children. In Florida, the accidental drowning rate amongst children ages one through four was 7.29 per 100,000 population in 2010. In fact, Florida loses more children to drowning than any other state, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Even in a near-drowning accident, a victim is still at risk for serious injuries. The extent of the injury depends on how long the victim is underwater and the brain deprived of oxygen. One of the most significant risks of a near-drowning experience is permanent brain damage. For example, hypoxic anoxic brain injuries render victims unable to walk, speak or eat on their own.
Other risks of near drowning include the following.
- Lung tissue damage
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Responsibilities of Property Owners with Pools or Ponds
Premises liability law requires property owners to maintain their properties to a standard that is free from known hazards, but it also protects property owners from being held liable for harm caused to trespassers. However, the trespasser provision does not apply when the trespasser is a child, under the doctrine of attractive nuisance.
The attractive nuisance doctrine states that because children are naturally curious and unable to understand certain risks, a property owner must take precautions to keep a child from entering his or her property when he or she owns something, such as a pool, which could lure a child. As such, if a child drowns in a pool that wasn't fenced off, the property owner may be considered negligent.
A property owner may also be held liable for a death or injury caused by drowning in the event that the drowning was caused by a preventable hazard, and the victim was legally on the property.
Examples of hazards that may lead to drowning or near-drowning event include the following.
- Objects around a pool leading to a slip and fall
- Lack of barriers
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Dispensation of excessive amounts of alcohol
Damages Available Following a Drowning Injury
If a preventable drowning occurs because of owner negligence, the victim or the family of the victim can file a claim for damages in Florida's civil courts. The family must file the claim within four years' time and must provide detail as to why the injury would not have occurred but for the failure of the property owner to maintain a hazard-free property.
If liability of the property owner is established, damages available include the following.
- Loss of companionship and guidance of the deceased/injured
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of earning capacity of the deceased/injured
- Pain and suffering
- Any medical expenses incurred
Call a Florida Premises Liability Attorney Now
You only have so much time to file a claim for damages to pay for your loved one's injury or death after a drowning or near-drowning experience in Florida. Coping with the loss or severe harm of a family member is one of the most difficult things to do; a claim for damages can help you recover the financial support you need and deserve.
The attorneys at The Francis Law Group know how to help you – visit our website to learn more about premises liability laws in Florida, or call us today to schedule a free case consultation at 888-327-2745.