Summer in Florida brings vacationers and heat, two things with which residents have a love/hate relationship. While it sometimes can be tough to escape the crowds, there are several ways to face the heat, including retreating to air-conditioned interiors, enjoying ice cream and other frozen treats, and taking a dip in a swimming pool. Days by the pool can be the setting for wonderful memories, but they can also quickly take a tragic turn. Our Panama City swimming pool lawyer can help families following swimming pool accidents. While money damages can never bring back a lost loved one, a civil claim is sometimes appropriate and may provide resources that help the families move forward after a tragic loss.
Last Wednesday, Northwest Florida Daily News covered the tragic death of a local teen who died while enjoying a summer day with friends in Shalimar. 16-year-old Alex Hill had been attending a swimming party on Japonica Lane when someone spotted him lying motionless under the water; officials believe he was underwater for 2 minutes. Bystanders pulled Hill from the pool and a friend's mother, a registered nurse, began administering CPR while someone called 911. When emergency responders arrived, they took the teen to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center where he was stabilized before they transported him by helicopter to Pensacola's Sacred Heart where he later died.
Witnesses told investigators that Hill had been seen lying on a raft in the pool's deep end. Doctors found a cut on Hill's temple and investigators believe he may have hit his head on the side of the pool.
The Center for Disease Control reports that an average of 3,533 people died annually in the United States between 2005 and 2009 as a result of non-boating related, unintentional drownings. Put another way, 10 people died every day in drowning incidents during that time span, making drowning the 5th-leading cause of unintentional injury death nationwide. Children aged 14 years or younger account for 1 in every 5 drowning deaths, meaning that on average 2 children died each day in the U.S. during the studied time frame. For every child fatality, 5 other children received emergency room treatment for non-fatal injuries stemming from submersion.
Swimming pools are the most common drowning location for children between 1 and 4 years of age. The percentage decreases with age, but pools remain a major drowning location for victims of all ages. Pool areas can give rise to many other accidents involving serious injuries and deaths, such as diving mishaps, slip and fall accidents, allergic reactions to pool chemicals, and incidents involving suction systems.
We represent injured people and grieving families in cases where Panama City pool injuries give rise to legal liability. In such cases, the victims are often entitled to money damages. Different accidents and fact patterns support claims involving different legal theories.
Many pool injury claims involve premises liability theories. At the root of such claims is the responsibility of a property owner to protect others from known dangers. The law typically requires pool owners to take reasonable safety precautions to protect others, both those who are invited and those who are not. Swimming pools are one of the primary examples of an "attractive nuisance," meaning the law imposes a special duty to protect young children from entering the pool unnoticed, looking to play but instead encountering a safety threat.
Other legal theories that may be used to impose liability include negligence (i.e. a claim against a commercial pool operator for hiring untrained "lifeguards") and product liability (i.e. a claim that a pool drain malfunctioned and led to a drowning or, as made headlines in recent years, disembowelment).
As a Panama City pool injury lawyer, Attorney Pittman understands the wide range of civil law principles intended to protect victims from pool accidents. Together with his team and the client, he evaluates each case individually to determine how he can help the victims recover crucial damages in civil court. Call if our team can help you.