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When is a Florida homeowner liable for a swimming pool drowning?

Since at least the mid-20th Century, the backyard swimming pool has been an iconic symbol of the Florida lifestyle. But swimming pools can be dangerous places, especially for small children. Every year in the U.S. swimming pool drownings claim the lives of about 350 children under the age of 5-years-old. Most of these drownings occur in backyard pools.

When a swimming pool drowning occurs, the property owner can often be held accountable in a premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability is the legal theory that holds a negligent property owner liable when a person is injured or killed due to hazardous conditions on the property.

It goes without saying that when children are playing in a pool, a responsible adult should supervise them at all times. But, many drownings occur when the adults are unaware a child is in the pool. An unattended pool can be a death trap for curious children, and a homeowner can be held liable for the death even if the child was technically a trespasser.

Homeowners should take reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorized access to their pools. Fences and gate alarms are just a couple of reasonable security measures that can prevent a tragedy. Lifesaving equipment should be easily reachable in case of an emergency. And, a homeowner should never leave pool toys floating in an unattended pool; they are a magnet for small children.

Swimming pools provide a lot of relaxation and relief from the heat for Florida residents. But, when a property owner is negligent the result can be fatal. A grieving family can hold a negligent swimming pool owner liable in a civil lawsuit and recover compensation for their loss.

Source: Consumeraffairs.com, "Swimming Pools - Safety Is No Accident," accessed March 27, 2016

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