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Near-Drowning In Treasure Coast Swimming Pool

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A toddler is in a local hospital after she apparently fell into an unattended backyard swimming pool.

Doctors say the 10-month-old girl should recover, although she evidently swallowed large amounts of water. According to witnesses, an adult left the 10-month-old and her 2-year-old sister alone for a few minutes, and the woman suddenly heard the older girl screaming. When first responders arrived, the 2-year-old was holding her sister in her arms. The incident occurred at a residence on Southwest Redding Circle in Port St. Lucie.

At this point, investigators believe that the girls used an unlocked cabana door to get through the fence surrounding the pool.

Premises Liability in Florida

Property owners in the Sunshine State normally have a duty of ordinary care to maintain their premises and keep them safe, and the specific duty depends on the victim’s permission, or lack thereof, to be on the land.

  • Trespassers: If the victim did not have express or implied permission to be on the property (e.g. a party crasher or a hunter who strays across the property line), the owner owes no duty, other than to refrain from any intentional harm. However, the attractive nuisance rule usually applies in swimming pool injury situations. If the hazard is likely to attract children and a child is injured, the child trespasser effectively becomes an invitee, a category that is discussed below.
  • Licensees: Most courts define licensees as people who have indirect permission to be on the land, such as guests of apartment tenants or door-to-door salespeople. The owner has a duty to warn licensees about any latent defects, such as a burnt-out security light or a loose stairway railing.
  • Invitees: Guests are invitees if the owner receives a tangible or intangible benefit, and that would include almost all business and social guests. In these instance, owners must ensure that the premises are reasonably safe by frequently inspecting the land.

In addition to drownings, many people are poisoned in swimming pools. Sometimes, there are not enough cleaning chemicals in the water to kill bacteria, and sometimes there are excess chemicals that cause serious adverse reactions.

Determining Liability

In many cases, the applicable safety laws establish the standard of care, and that is often the case with swimming pools. In 2009, Florida lawmakers passed the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act. This law has many requirements for swimming pool barriers. For example, residential pools must be completely surrounded by a gapless fence that is at least four feet high and at least 20 inches from the water’s edge. Moreover, the self-closing gates must be self-latching from the inside of the fence, and the mechanisms must be far down enough so children cannot reach over and unlock the gates.

Mostly because swimming pools get so much use in Florida, many local governments have enacted building codes that are even more restrictive than the state law.

Contact Aggressive Attorneys

Landowners must keep their property safe, and that includes swimming pools. For a free consultation with an assertive personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, PA. We routinely handle cases throughout the Treasure Coast area.

Resources:

tcpalm.com/story/news/2016/12/09/infant-serious-after-near-drowning-port-st-lucie/95218014/

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0515/0515.html

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