Swimming Pool Injuries
Here in Florida, it seems like almost every hotel and resort has a pool. Even when the site is just steps from the ocean, it’s a feature many visitors have come to expect during their stay.
Pool owners who open their facilities to paying guests have the highest duty to make sure the pool adheres to all industry and state codes and that the site is reasonably safe for invitees. They also need to warn guests about any dangers, hidden or obvious, and take steps to correct those dangers.
Proper pool safety is a must for hotel operators because the swimming pool is simultaneously one of the biggest draws for guests – and one of the most dangerous sites of the hotel.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale swimming pool injury lawyers know there is so much that can go awry.
Examples of issues that result in swimming pool injuries commonly reported at hotels:
- Cracked pool decks;
- Broken diving boards;
- Faulty drain covers;
- Faded or missing depth markers;
- Damage pool equipment;
- Overly-slippery surfaces;
- Improper storage of chemicals;
- Faulty floatation devices;
- Unsecured fencing or pool barriers;
- Inadequate lighting.
The most serious danger in and around swimming pools is almost certainly posed to children. Infants and toddlers especially are at high risk of drowning. The Florida Department of Health reports this state loses more children under age 5 to drowning than any other states. Every year, the number of child drowning victims 4 and under could fill three or four preschool classrooms. Prevention is key, and that means making sure the site has appropriate barriers and pool activity is adequately supervised – or else there are warnings posted to advise of no lifeguard or other hazards.
Beyond that, teens and young adults engaging in alcohol, drug use or horseplay may be at-risk. The hotel has a duty to be aware of this possibility and to take reasonable measures to prevent it and protect guests around the water.
The hotel also needs to ensure all its equipment is properly maintained and in good working order and that staffers are properly trained to prevent injuries.Hotel Swimming Pool Standards
In order for a public swimming pool to be considered safe, it has to meet certain criteria.
Industry guidelines are spelled out by NSF International, the public health and safety organizations that certifies pools across the country. With regard to pools, spas and hot tubs, the agency spells out very specific standards for things like corrosion resistance, design and construction, user instructions and markings, disinfection formula and instructions for proper equipment usage. A hotel that doesn’t abide by these standards may not necessarily be breaking the law, but an argument could be made about the lack of reasonable care taken.
Meanwhile, F.S. 514.0315 details a few of the safety features for public swimming pools and spas. According to that statute, pools and spas have to be equipped with:
- Anti-entrapment systems or devices that comply with American National Standards Institute standard A1112.19.8 (or any successor standard);
- At least one of the following: a safety vacuum release system that stops the pump from operating, a suction-limiting vent system, a gravity drainage system, an automatic pump shut-off system, a device that disables the drain.
Beyond that, Chapter 64E-9 of the Florida Administrative Code offers more detail as to required safety features of public pools. These include:
- Proper water quality;
- Prohibition on food and beverages in the pool;
- Prohibition on animals and glass in the fenced in area of the pool or 50 feet from the edge of an unfenced pool;
- Maintenance of equipment;
- Maintenance of sanitary facilities;
- Construction plans and approval;
- Lighting requirements for pools at night.
Failure to abide by these regulations can be used as evidence in a Florida pool injury negligence case. However, pool injury victims one also needs to establish that the pool owner/ operator:
- Owed a duty of care;
- Breached that duty of care;
- That breach of duty caused injury to plaintiff;
- That injury is compensable.
Hotels and resorts aren’t expected to guarantee the absolute safety of their guests and they can’t be held liable for losses or injuries to guests unless they are found at fault.
The exact definition of “reasonable care” is subject to interpretation by the courts depending on the underlying circumstances.
If you or a family member suffered a hotel swimming pool injury in Florida, call us today to learn more about how we can help.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.