Pool and Spa Dangers
Swimming pools and spas (better known as “hot tubs”) are everywhere in Florida. These features are prominent in waterparks, hotels, resorts and public parks. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals estimates there are more than 1.2 million pools in the state (including 25,000 commercial pools), as well as 335,000 hot tubs.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, recognize that while pools and spas provide relief, relaxation and fun, they can also be extremely dangerous. In some cases, they are defectively constructed or maintained. In other instances, they aren’t appropriately marked. Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers have also seen numerous circumstances wherein pools and spas were not properly secured or supervised. Any one of these scenarios can lead to devastating consequences.
Every day in the U.S., nine people drown – and this is the No. 2 cause of accidental injury-related deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 14. For every death, there are approximately four people who suffered a serious but non-fatal swimming pool or spa accident that requires hospitalization.
Possible pool and spa dangers in Florida include:
- Slip-and-fall injuries due to walking surfaces around or near the water with inadequate traction;
- Lack of pool security features (i.e., fencing, gates, close adult supervision, lifeguards);
- Electrical shock due to wires or other charged devices near the water;
- Failure to clearly mark the depth of the pool, raising the potential for diving accidents or drowning;
- Malfunctioning pool or spa equipment, such as drains, drain covers, filters, lights or pumps;
- Chemical hazards or biohazards, such as chlorine gas exposure or inadequately cleaned fecal matter;
- Improperly maintenance or cleaning of hot tubs, causing a risk of Legionnaire’s Disease due to a bacterium called Legionella that thrives in hot water environments.
If you are injured due to a spa or pool accident, our experienced injury attorneys in Fort Myers will help you determine whether you have a viable claim and how best to pursue it.
Our attorneys can help you explore damages in cases of:
- Vacation Accidents
- Defectively Designed and Maintained Pools
- Residential Pool Injuries
- Spa Injuries
Given that most drowning deaths each year involve children under the age of 5, we know how much this means to you and your family. We recognize also the complexity of these cases, which may be rooted in theories of negligence that include:
- Premises liability;
- Product liability;
- Negligent maintenance/ repair;
- Vicarious liability for negligent employees.
Premises liability claims are some of the most common for pool and spa accidents. Property owners and operators owe a duty of care to those who enter, depending on the visitor’s status. This applies to commercial, public and residential property owners, but the degree of that duty of care varies.
Businesses that invite paying customers onto the property for the benefit of the business owe the highest duty of care because visitors are classified as business invitees. In these cases, the business owner has a responsibility to:
- Inspect the site regularly for potential hazards;
- Fix potential hazards OR;
- Warn patrons of those hazards that are not immediately obvious.
Property owners can be liable for injuries that occur on site if they knew or should have known about them (referred to as “actual or constructive knowledge) and they failed to address the issue or warn patrons. Per F.S. 768.0755, proving constructive knowledge means showing the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that the business should have discovered it with the exercise of ordinary care or else the condition occurred with regularity, and thus was foreseeable.
Where pool and spa injuries occur on a private residence, there still exists a duty of care to maintain a site in reasonably safe condition. Landlords, homeowners’ associations and individual homeowners can be liable for hazards on their property – including lack of gates and fencing, improperly-marked pool depths, malfunctioning pool equipment, poorly-maintained chemical balance or failure to clean. Many of these claims may be paid out through liability or homeowners’ insurance policies.Product Liability for Pool and Spa Accidents
If it turns out the pool or spa injury was caused by some defect in the pool or equipment, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.
Some examples of pool product liability claims include:
Pool filter defects. There have been recorded cases of pool filters that have combusted due to air compression. Shrapnel injuries were reported in some cases.
Drain and pump defects. When drains or pumps aren’t covered properly or they malfunction, this results in something called suction entrapment. Swimmers can become stuck underwater or their hair gets caught in the drain, resulting in serious injury.
Ladder and slide or diving board defects. Too-low diving boards or improperly-placed ladders can result in broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries or drowning.
Defective heaters. In some cases, gas pool heaters have been shown to pose a carbon monoxide risk.
Defective floatation devices. This particularly dangerous for children, who use baby floats or “water wings.” But adult mats and tubes may also be potentially very dangerous if they don’t function as expected or promised.
Because these scenarios pose a risk of serious injury or death, it’s important to contact an experienced injury lawyer in Fort Myers who can help you explore your legal options.
800-646-1210 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice