As our Miami injury attorneys have discussed before, although swimming can be a great way to relax on a hot summer day, it is important for people appreciate the risks associated with this activity, especially for children. These hazards have been highlighted by a recent incident in which twin toddlers drowned in a swimming pool accident at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex.
Tragic Accident Involving Twins
Harmani and Harmony West, both just two years old, drowned in the pool of Tivoli Park, the apartment complex where they lived with their mother. According to authorities, the girls were found floating in the pool by a couple visiting from North Carolina. Efforts were made to resuscitate the children, who were immediately taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. Preliminary investigation revealed that the pool area was gated, but the lock on the gate was broken, allowing the girls to access the pool area.
The risks associated with swimming are especially high for children, especially when they are inadequately supervised or permitted to swim without appropriate safety equipment. According to statistics published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the second leading cause of death among children aged one to nineteen, with over a thousand such children drowning every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, in 2010, 437 children between the ages of one and four died in unintentional drowning accidents, making it the leading cause of death in that age group, followed by motor vehicle accidents accounting for only 343 deaths.
Premises Liability and Swimming Pool Accidents
As this blog has discussed on several occasions, premises liability is a legal term that references a property owner’s duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Owners and operators of private pools and breaches are no different, and owe certain duties to guests of their property. With regard to children, the duty of pool owners is established by statute.
Passed in 2009, Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act requires that all outdoor swimming pools have a 4-foot fence or other barrier around the outer perimeter of the pool, with no gaps in coverage. The Act also requires that the fence be far enough away from the pool’s edge that a child who finds a way into the guarded area will not immediately fall into the pool. Finally, the Act mandates that the entrance to the pool area must open outward and be equipped with a self-closing and self-locking device that is beyond the reach of a child.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition of a pool or lake, it is important that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine the merit and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any favorable evidence. The Miami injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligent actions or omissions of property owners. If you have been injured on the premises of another, or know someone that has, contact the Miami premises liability attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.