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South Florida Vacation Rental Accommodations During The Holidays

This holiday season has already proven itself to be a busy one, especially in South Florida.

 

 

Nearly 110 million people are expected to travel throughout the United States between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, according to AAA. That’s nearly 28 million more travelers than the 2020 holiday period.

 

 

Considering that Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International airports are ranked as a top destination for Christmas and New Year’s travel, it’s safe to say that a significant number of that total will descend upon our sunny beaches and roadways. Also, they will all need a place to stay.

South Florida Vacation Rental Accommodations During The Holidays 1 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

It’s exciting to plan a vacation to somewhere new and being somewhere will it make it even more memorable.

A good number of those traveling here to South Florida may have their own place to stay or have accommodations with family or friends. Even more though are staying at a hotel, motel or a vacation rental like an Airbnb and Vrbo.

 

Many hotels are centrally located, with easy walking or transport access to nightlife, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
But if you really want to blend in with the neighborhood’s full-time residents, a vacation rental is a better choice for many.

 

Airbnb and Vrbo vacation rentals are very popular throughout South Florida and there is little wonder as to why.
With the ability from property owners to make their beachside home or their scenic skyscraper condo available to rent,it can provide a unique holiday stay experiences.

 

In most cases, their trips will be a delightful memory that can last a lifetime.
However, with recent cases of rape and sexual assault that can happen at these vacation rental establishments, it needs to be considered in order to take the right precautions and action.

 

 

South Florida Vacation Rental Accommodations During The Holidays 2 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

Any business that caters to vacationers need to do more than simply just opening their doors. They have a responsibility to provide protection from any preventable hazards and generally, safe premises.

Often there are no issues with these rentals and both customers and owners share positive experiences. Staying at an Airbnb or Vrbo property should be a positive experience and equally, there should be no case where you end up in the hospital due to the negligence or unaddressed conditions of the property instead.

If you do or have experienced sexual assault during your stay at a short term rental, your response should be determined by the nature of the incident. If dangerous and ongoing, the most important thing that you can do is to remove yourself from the situation. If you need to seek assistance, do so immediately.

You have the right to file a claim if you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault or other type of misconduct (whether physical or sexual in nature) at an Airbnb or Vrbo property.

Separate from any criminal case proceeding, a sexual assault lawsuit can also help survivors recover damages for the harm caused. Emotional distress damages are compensation one recovers for impact that would include anxiety, humiliation, and psychological trauma.

Our attorneys at The South Florida Injury Law Firm are here to make sure that you are fairly treated in the aftermath of such an incident and to help you take the necessary legal action you need to get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys work diligently to fight for their clients rights who have either suffered serious injuries or assault on or around their vacation rental.

South Florida Vacation Rental Accommodations During The Holidays 3 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

Wherever you choose go or stay. we wish you all a safe and enjoyable Holiday season

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VRBO Sexual and Physical Assault Cases

VRBO and others revolutionized the vacation rental industry when they launched, providing a simple platform for homeowners to rent their partial or entire properties for short-term stays.

 

Instead of limiting your stay to hotels and motels, VRBO and other similar vacation rental companies have allowed property owners to make their vacant properties available for any party registered with them as a guest or host. The platform provides a list of available accommodations ranging from apartments and houses up through castles; some listed by private individuals who rent them directly; others offered by professional real estate firms, hotel chains, resorts & spas offering timeshares.


VRBO Sexual and Physical Assault Cases 4 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law FirmVRBO Background

VRBO was founded in 1995 as Vacation Rentals by Owner, but was later acquired by Expedia/Home Away and has grown into the largest source for short-term vacation rentals. Although the vacation rental service provides many benefits that have consistently been used and enjoyed by hundreds of parties throughout time, there are also negative aspects. Similar to the Airbnb platform, VRBO has experienced tremendous growth in volume that has surpassed its ability to ensure the safety for its hosts and guests.

 

Although most accommodations are comfortable, safe and successful, what happens if you unluckily become a victim of a violent or sexual assault or injury?
VRBO and AirBnb have admitted they receive more than 250,000 safety issue reports each year from both hosts and guests, but have chosen exponential growth over taking the proper steps to protect their customers.

Concerningly, many of these reports are from those who were guests that have reported sexual assaults by VRBO hosts.
With a variety of allegations that include claims of kidnapping, rape and other acts of sexual violence. Some accusations have even included child sex abuse. However, guests are not the only victims stated in these assaults. Hosts and their families have also been assaulted by the guests they have rented their properties to.

Because of this, many strongly believe VRBO and others have not done enough to ensure the safety of both guests and hosts on its platforms. In their proven effort to provide quick service, many believe VRBO has failed to properly protect its guests and hosts from predators by not ensuring adequate security, check-in safeguards and background checks. Although VRBO screens rental owners and renters, many claim the background checks don’t do enough to protect either party.

VRBO Sexual and Physical Assault Cases 5 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

 

In response, the company has deployed a crisis response team of nearly 100 agents to quickly hush up these crimes and pay settlements to those affected before they go public.
However, victims should never agree to a release without learning their full legal rights to compensation. Until 2017, every potential guest who negotiated a settlement with them over events and incidents involving attacks, assault, rape, and murder was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Media reports indicate the vacation rental company’s high-profile operatives are trained to negotiate the potential publicity nightmare of some of the gruesome events involving the Company’s worst crises. Because of the wording in the non-disclosure agreement meant that they could not reveal their harrowing stories involving VRBO that would likely go unreported.

While they’ve assembled teams of crisis responders to handle complaints, these people do not work for victims or have their best interests in mind.

VRBO Sex Assault Legal Assistance

Survivors of these assaults can take legal action to get the justice they deserve. Lawyers are now investigating VRBO lawsuits for those who’ve suffered sexual assault, physical assault or homicide while using their services. Given the complexity of these lawsuits, and the numerous parties involved, the assistance of a personal injury attorney with knowledge of the VRBO platform is imperative. If you’ve been a victim, you should speak directly with a lawyer today.

At South Florida Injury Law Firm, our attorneys represent sexually abused victims. Tell us what happened in a confidential setting. Then, let us hold those responsible for causing your harm financially accountable for their negligence.

Our South Florida attorneys have developed a reputation for being compassionate advocates. We understand the challenges you are facing and cater our representation to your unique situation and needs. Our legal team accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements to ensure no payments are made until we resolve the case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict.

Swimming Pool Liability: How Injury Cases Work in Florida

Swimming Pool Liability: How Injury Cases Work in Florida

Swimming Pool Liability: How Injury Cases Work in Florida

Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous.

Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries.

In many cases, these tragic accidents can be prevented — and it’s the pool owner’s responsibility to do what they can to help. When the pool owner breaches this duty of care, he or she may be liable for the resultant injuries.

Let’s take a look at how swimming pool injury cases work in Florida.

Florida Injury Statutes of Limitations

If you are considering bringing a swimming pool liability case in Florida, understand you must do so within a set limit of time, the “statute of limitations.”

Victims sustaining an injury in a swimming pool accident have four years from the date of the accident to file suit. If a victim dies during the accident, relatives have only two years to bring a wrongful death suit.

Any lawsuits outside of these statutes of limitations will be dismissed.

Further, waiting too long before filing suit brings the severity of your injuries under question. It is important to act as soon as possible if you determine it’s appropriate to seek damages.

Determining Liability for FL Swimming Pool Accidents

The owners of both public and private swimming pools carry a heavy legal burden. They are not automatically liable for injuries sustained on their premises, but have to adhere to much stricter rules than other types of property owners.

Because a pool is considered part of a person’s property, premises liability rules apply to swimming pool injuries. Under premises liability, there are three types of entrants, with varying duties of care:

Invitee

An invitee is a patron of a public pool, and pool owners owe the greatest duty of care to invitees. Owners are required by law to maintain and repair the pool to prevent injuries to invitees. In public pools, the owners are also obligated to do the following:

  • Provide supervision
  • Provide adequate emergency equipment
  • Maintain the pool and surrounding areas
  • Post adequate signage for the pool
  • Post warnings regarding pool hazards

Licensee

A licensee is a guest on private property that was invited by the homeowner. The homeowner is obligated to warn licensees of any hazards that are not obvious to a reasonable individual, but their level of liability isn’t as high as that of a public pool owner.

Trespasser

A trespasser does not have permission to be on the property or in the pool. Therefore, a pool owner does not owe a duty of care to this type of entrant — unless the trespasser is a child, as we cover below.

To establish liability in a private pool, the victim must prove that the risk that caused the injury was not an obvious hazard, and that the injuries were not a result of the victim’s own negligent behavior.

Pools and Florida’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Circling back to children trespassing, the law considers children too young to understand the risk of drowning. Therefore, Florida law holds property owners liable for maintaining an “attractive nuisance.”

An attractive nuisance is any object on a property that makes children curious and drawn to the property, including swimming pools.

Property owners are obligated to take extra precautions to keep children away from swimming pools. Ideally, it is fenced on all four sides with a child-proof gate. Otherwise, the pool must be properly covered when not in use, or alarms for all doors and windows directly accessing the pool must be installed.

South Florida Pool INjury Lawyers

Ultimately, both homeowners and public pool operators have an obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment, and to protect pool users from unreasonable hazards. If you or a loved one have suffered a pool injury, and feel it was due to a breach in their duty, you may have grounds to seek damages with the guidance of a South Florida personal injury attorney.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

These are the Most Common Ways That Kids Get Hurt in Florida

These are the Most Common Ways That Kids Get Hurt in Florida

These are the Most Common Ways That Kids Get Hurt in Florida

As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital.

Children are treated every day in US hospitals for all kinds of injuries. In fact, over 9 million children visit emergency rooms for injuries each year. In this post, we’re going to detail the most common injuries that happen to kids and what you can do to keep your child safe.

The most likely reasons that your child could need medical care for injuries are:

Choking

Since young children tend to put everything in their mouths as they explore the world, choking injuries are a constant threat in the first few years of life. Babies and toddlers need careful supervision, since unlikely items can get into their mouths in mere seconds. Be sure to keep all small items out of reach.

Mealtimes present choking hazards to children of all ages. You must avoid giving hard foods like candies, raw carrots, or nuts to children under the age of six, since those foods present particular dangers for children without molars. Until your child can cut his or her own food into small pieces, do that job for them.

Drowning

With all the access to water in Florida, it’s essential for parents to train children in water safety from a very young age. Drowning is the number one reason for death among children between the ages of one and four years. You must be vigilant any time your child is near water, no matter how shallow the water may be.

Even an inch of water is enough for a small child to drown in. Do not allow your young child to be near water without constant supervision. Make sure that pool gates and doors are locked and not able to be opened by a child. Also lock pool covers when the pool is not being used, because even older children can drown if they get trapped under the cover.

Boca Raton Swimming Pool Accidents

As soon as your child is old enough, sign him or her up for swimming instructions. Kids must always wear a vest when on a boat, and you must supervise them closely when you are out on the water. Teach your child water safety habits to minimize the risk of drowning.

Falls

Children love to climb, whether it’s on playground equipment or trees. Many love to ride bikes and explore the outdoors. Unfortunately, these childhood times of delight also present countless falling dangers. Since falls are the top reason for injuries to children under the age of 15, it’s important to teach your children safety measures to prevent falls.

Start inside your home. You can prevent slip and fall injuries by removing loose rugs and keeping floors free from clutter.

When outdoors, choose playgrounds with a bouncy surface to minimize injury. Insist that your child wear a bike helmet on every ride.

You can greatly reduce the risk of serious injury with these precautionary measures.

Poisoning

The family medicine cabinet is a common source of poisoning in Florida homes. Keep your medicine cabinet secured and monitor its contents on a regular basis.

Household chemicals can also poison children. Place toxic chemicals out of your child’s reach and make sure they are clearly labeled as hazardous. Teach your child which chemicals must be avoided to prevent poisoning.

Sports Injuries

Your child will likely experience minor injuries like bruises or sprains while playing sports at some point. Some sports injuries, like concussions or ligament tears, can require physical therapy, surgery, or other ongoing treatments. It’s important to seek medical treatment for sports injuries, whether they’re major or minor.

Your child will be safer if he or she is hydrated and well-rested before engaging in any strenuous physical activity. Make sure that your child has frequent breaks and takes time off between seasons to prevent injuries.

Suffocation

Babies under one year of age are in the highest risk group for suffocation. You must properly place your child in a crib with no blankets, toys, or other objects to prevent suffocation.

It’s also essential to keep plastic bags away from babies and toddlers, who can suffocate in mere moments if not supervised.

Boca Raton Child Injury & Accident Attorney

Obviously, these are just some of the many, many different ways kids can get hurt. Toys can be defective and result in harm. They can be in car crashes. The list goes on and on. All you can really do is be aware of the most likely injury scenarios and prepare both yourself and your children so that they engage in safe practices.

 

 

About the Author: 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

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Swimming Pool Injuries: The Many Ways Floridians Can Be Hurt

Swimming Pool Injuries: The Many Ways Floridians Can Be Hurt 6 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

As the weather heats up, time in the pool becomes a necessity for many people. Nothing feels better than cooling off in a pool, whether you’re at your local swimming club or at a friend’s home. Unfortunately, swimming pools come with big risks, and Floridians should keep the potential for injury in mind before taking a dip.

As an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer, I’m well aware of the many different ways that people can get hurt in pools. Here are six ways you could potentially be hurt in a swimming pool this summer. Remember, the more you know, the more accidents you can prevent.

Diving Injuries

Diving is a fun way to show off and get into the pool, but shallow waters can cause life-threatening injuries. Swimmers should be cautious of the depth of the pool they are diving in. Above-ground pools, for example, are always too shallow for divers. Over half of all diving injuries occur in water that is four feet deep or less.

If a swimmer hits their head while diving or jumping into a pool, they should be sent to a doctor immediately. Even if the swimmer appears fine throughout the rest of the day, they may be at risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI.) Over 1.7 million people suffer from a TBI each year, but half of these cases are not recognized or reported. These injuries only get worse if they are unchecked.

Disembowelment

This isn’t one many people think of – or realize – when thinking about pool injuries, but it can happen – particularly if kids aren’t careful. How?

If a young child is sitting near a pool’s skimmer box, the connected suction pump could eviscerate them. This is an especially gruesome and impactful injury. Evisceration can result in the victim needing their food to be administered through an IV, colostomies, or even death.

Other Drain Injuries

Pool drains and suction pumps can cause injuries apart from disembowelment. This area of the pool can create a suction that moves up to 500 pounds of force, so swimmers of all sizes should avoid the area. Suction from a pool drain may cause:

  • Loss of jewelry and accessories, or these items being pulled from and injuring or choking the swimmer
  • Loss of fingers, toes, hand or feet
  • Other organ damage

Skin Irritations from Chemicals

Swimming Pool Injuries: The Many Ways Floridians Can Be Hurt 7 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

Conversely, if a drain is not properly working, injuries can still occur. Drains and suction pumps move chemicals throughout the pool to kill bacteria and keep the area clean. If the drain is malfunctioning, or the owner of the pool is not properly maintaining it, a variety of injuries can occur.

The presence of bacteria and a high concentration of bacteria-killing chemicals could cause:

  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Stomach problems and infections
  • Further injury to existing cuts or lacerations (infections)

Lacerations and Cuts

Proper pool maintenance also involves checking the pool for potential risks of lacerations or cuts. Over the years, pool lining can get ripped or torn. If these materials have sharp edges, swimmers can get cut while they are playing or running. Inground pools that are surrounded by concrete also pose a big risk for swimmers.

Even a small cut poses a big risk. As we mentioned earlier, a cut can become seriously infected if it comes into contact with the wrong bacteria or chemicals. If you notice that a loved one has suffered cuts while swimming in a pool, take proper care to treat the cut and remove the person from that area until the cut is healed.

Drowning

Drowning is one of the most common and serious pool injuries. Nine people drown in America every single day. Children are at an especially high risk – drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-14.

Drowning doesn’t just occur when inexperienced swimmers get in the water, though. All it takes is lying face down in 30 mm of water for someone to drown. A victim may drown because of an injury that occurs in the pool, horseplay, or overcrowding. Stay alert for signs of drowning to keep your loved ones safe this summer.

Being Alert to Swimming Pool Dangers Can’t Always Save You

These aren’t the only possible injuries that you might experience at a pool. Your best way to stay safe is to remain alert at all times and prepare ahead of time.

Swimming Pool Injuries: The Many Ways Floridians Can Be Hurt 8 Swimming Pool Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

Unfortunately, even the most prepared people cannot account for the negligence of others, and if you or someone you love is hurt, you owe it to your family to hold them accountable

Reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer today about your options for compensation.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Alligators in Your Swimming Pool - It's No Joke

Alligators in Your Swimming Pool? It’s No Joke

Alligators in Your Swimming Pool - It's No Joke

Among all of the tragedies that Orlando and the state of Florida have faced recently, one of the most heartbreaking involved a 2-year old boy playing at Walt Disney World.

 

Lane Graves, 2, of Nebraska, was playing in the water outside of Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa and Resort when he was quickly snatched by an alligator and dragged into the water. His body was found a day later.

 

It’s not unusual to spot an alligator around the grounds of Walt Disney World. The amusement park was essentially built on a swamp, and covers 40 square miles of land. But not every visitor is aware of the presence of alligators. The area where Lane Graves was playing simply had a “No Swimming” sign and no warning of dangerous animals.

 

Your Pool Could Hide an Alligator, Too

 

It may be unsettling to think of alligators invading our favorite theme parks, but it’s downright terrifying to think of alligators appearing in our backyards and swimming pools. Unfortunately, the growing population of both people and alligators has caused some overlap in where we want to relax and swim. Sending your child off to a swimming pool or beach area in Florida may put them at risk of an alligator or other wildlife-related accident.

 

That being said, keep in mind that the death of Lane Graves was the first fatal alligator attack in Florida since 2007. In short, alligator attacks are rare. There are typically around a dozen bites recorded each year. But even though wildlife accidents of this type are not common, they are traumatic, and can bring a lot of stress and financial hardship upon your family.

 

So what happens if your child is attacked by an animal on someone else’s property? Can you sue for damages? Will you win your lawsuit?

 

Negligence and Premise Liability

 

Let’s remove the wildlife factor and talk briefly about premise liability. If you are injured on a piece of property owned by someone else, you may be able to file a premise liability lawsuit against that person or company.

 

Negligence and Premise Liability

 

Property owners have the duty of both maintaining their property so that it is safe for visitors, and also warning visitors of potential dangers that are known by the owner but unknown to the visitor. If the property owners have neglected those duties, they can be found guilty of negligence. To win your lawsuit, you will have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your accident.

 

For example, if your child suffered a swimming pool accident at a neighbor’s house because of improper security or fencing, you could file a lawsuit. If you make a compelling case that the improper security caused your child’s accident, you might win the lawsuit and receive compensation.

 

Suing Over Wildlife Accidents in Florida

 

So it sounds like the Graves family has options when it comes to pursuing legal action against the theme park, right? Failure to communicate the imminent danger of wildlife that typically roams the property could be considered negligence or even gross negligence. Disney owns the Grand Floridian and the surrounding beaches, so they should take responsibility for warning patrons, staff, and guests of the dangers presented by that wildlife.

 

However…

 

Florida is no stranger to dangerous wildlife, and laws about the presence of wildlife may affect the Graves family’s lawsuit. Florida law does not require property owners to anticipate or warn visitors about the presence of wildlife unless the owner owns or has introduced the wildlife onto their property.

 

Suing Over Wildlife Accidents in Florida

 

For example, your child is playing at a friend’s house. Your child was unsupervised and unaware that their friend has a ferocious family dog. Your child sees and goes to pet the dog and is bitten. In this situation, you can file a lawsuit because the friend’s family owns the dog and did not warn your child. They are guilty of negligence.

 

On the flip side, if your child is playing at the same friend’s house and a wild bird randomly swoops in and attacks them, you will have a much harder time arguing that the friend’s family is liable for the damages done by the wild bird.

 

When in Doubt, Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

 

It is important to look at Florida’s laws and procedures regarding every factor that went into an accident or injury. The Graves family will need a lawyer who is experienced in going up against high-profile clients like Disney, and who can effectively prove that negligence was involved in the case of Lane Graves’s accident.

 

If you’re caught in a confusing personal injury case, it is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with premise liability lawsuits in Florida. One simple call or click can get you a free review of your case today.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

5 Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

5 Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

5 Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them.

 

Swimming pool accidents can happen quickly, and most people never see them coming. Common causes of swimming pool accidents include:

 

 

Moreover, swimming pool injuries can happen anywhere, from the hotel hot tub to your home’s kiddie pool. Sadly, it is very common for children to drown at home while under the care of their parents. Below are the most common causes of swimming pool injuries, as well as advice on how to keep your loved ones safe this summer.

 

Not Learning How to Swim. Even in Florida, there are many adults and children who simply do not know how to swim. If you’re over a certain age, taking formal swimming lessons through school, recreation centers, or the local pool may be embarrassing, but it’s absolutely worth it. Learning proper swimming skills will not only reduce your risk of drowning, but can also keep you safer when you’re hanging out near pools but not in them.

 

So don’t delay. Sign you and your loved ones up for swimming lessons today. And if you aren’t already CPR certified, take classes in CPR certification so you can help loved ones if they lose consciousness from taking in too much water.

 

Swimming Pool Accident Lawyer South Florida

Lack of Supervision. True or False: It takes less than 5 minutes of submersion to drown. It’s true! Run a quick errand away from your child in the bathtub or pool, and you may come back to an emergency situation.

 

If you are supervising children while they play in the water, do not leave your post. Take turns playing lifeguard with other parents or responsible adults to prevent any accidents or injuries.

 

Intoxication. Stay safe on your next beach vacation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70% of water recreation deaths involve alcohol. Prolonged sun exposure can contribute to dehydration and make the effects of alcohol (impaired judgment, lack of coordination, slow response) more intense and more risky. If you drink alcohol and swim, be sure to keep yourself hydrated and monitor your alcohol intake.

Horsing around. Pools are meant to be fun, and both kids and adults love to jump in, splash around, and play all kinds of pool games. But you still have to obey certain safety protocols. Kids need to be taught that water can be just as dangerous as it is fun. Far too many people suffer slip and fall injuries around pools because they are running around. And if a pool is too shallow for diving, it is important that there are clear signs warning people not to jump in.

 

Improper security. To keep small children and others safe, swimming pools must be outfitted with proper fencing or some kind of latched gate or door to prevent anyone from falling in and drowning.

 

The Florida Department of Health Injury Prevention Initiative has issued past statements telling its citizens that pool safety is everyone’s responsibility. But even if you take pains to make sure that your pool is as safe as possible, you have little control over neighborhood swimming areas or the pools of your child’s friends. If someone you love is injured or killed in another person’s swimming pool, you may be able to hold them responsible and receive compensation for what you and your family have had to endure.

 

How to Know if Someone Is Drowning

How to Know if Someone Is Drowning

How to Know if Someone Is Drowning

 

When depicted in television and movies, drowning is a dramatic affair characterized by violent splashing, waving, and wailing for help.

 

But in real, life, drowning is frighteningly silent and undramatic.  Drowning rarely resembles its Hollywood depiction, which may be why as many as half of drownings occur within 25 yards of another adult person, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, in 10 percent of drownings, adults will even watch a victim drown without even realizing what is happening.

As you enjoy the last of your summer at the beach, pool, or lake, you can avoid tragedy by keeping a lookout for these common signs of drowning.

 

Silence. Youngsters tend to make plenty of noise when playing in the water. If you notice that they’ve fallen silent, you should immediately locate them and find out the reason.

 

Vertical body. People who are drowning may keep upright in the water without splashing or kicking excessively. Victims may struggle for less than a minute before submersion.

 

Glassy or closed eyes. When someone is drowning, their eyes may close, or turn glassy and unfocused.

 

Tilted head. A drowning victim’s head may tilt back low in the water, with the mouth open at water level.

 

Gasping. You may notice that a person who is drowning start to gasp for air or hyperventilate.

 

Unable to yell for help. In most cases, people who are drowning are physiologically incapable of speaking, much less yelling for help. The body must be able to breathe before it can speak. When someone is drowning, their mouth may bob up and down below the surface, and they may not have enough time to breathe in and out and scream for assistance.

 

Unable to wave for help. A person who is drowning may lose control of their arms, and may be unable to wave for help or swim towards a rescuer, life preservers, or throw rings.

 

Apparent calmness. In many cases, people who are drowning may appear to be calmly treading water and gazing up at the sky. In order to determine whether or not they are drowning, you should ask if they are all right. If they cannot answer, you may have less than 30 seconds to reach them.

 

Remember, if you see a person flailing and calling out for help in the water, they could still be in danger. Often times, people who thrash violently and yell for assistance are experiencing aquatic distress. These types of accident victims may be able to swim towards a rescuer or piece of rescue equipment.

 

Preventing Drowning Accidents among Children

 

Boca Raton Pool Accident Lawyer

 

The CDC reports that drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for kids between the ages of 1 and 14—second only to auto accidents. The majority of drowning victims between the ages of 1 and 4 drown in a backyard swimming pool.

 

If you are a parent, you should always stay within arm’s length of your child and remain alert when they are in or near the water. Remember that a child can drown within seconds – before you even realize he or she is in the water. Keep a close eye on children whenever you visit the pool, beach, or lake, even if they know how to swim.

 

Building a Backyard Pool in Florida: Safety Measures You’ll Need

Building a Backyard Pool in Florida: Safety Measures You’ll Need

Building a Backyard Pool in Florida: Safety Measures You’ll Need

With beautiful weather year-round, Florida is an ideal place to build a residential swimming pool. However, if you and your family are thinking of improving your backyard by adding your very own pool, there are a few safety measures that you’ll need to consider first.

 

That’s because Florida has a Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act that requires all pools built after October 1, 2000 to have specific safety features. The Act (which has actually been a law since 2009) was implemented in an effort to prevent drowning accidents in the state that has the highest drowning rate in the country for children ages 1-14.

 

Whether you’re just now building a swimming pool or you have a home pool that was built before 2000 and doesn’t meet the current safety standards, do your part to prevent drowning accidents. Here are the minimum safety features your pool should include.

 

Features to Help Keep Your Pool Safe

 

The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act actually only requires that you have one of the following safety features, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add more in an effort to make your pool as secure as possible.

 

Safety pool cover. Your cover can be either manual or power-operated, but it needs to meet the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Modern power-operated pool covers tend to be a good choice because they can completely seal the pool when not in use.

 

Safety Pool Covers - Pool Accident Lawyer

Barrier. Florida has strict requirements for what constitutes a pool barrier. Your barrier needs to be at least 4 feet high, may not have any gaps or other openings that a young child could crawl through, must go all the way around the perimeter of the pool, and needs to be far enough away from the pool that a child or medically frail person who fell through the barrier would not immediately fall in the water. Any gate in the barrier must be self-closing and have a release latch on the inside of the enclosure, where a child could not easily reach it from outside the barrier.

 

Home exit alarm. Although not as common as enclosures or pool covers, you can choose to install a home exit alarm on all doors or windows that have direct access to the pool. However, keep in mind that your pool still needs to have some kind of barrier to prevent children in the neighborhood—not just your own kids—from getting in the pool undetected.

 

Child-proof latching device. You may choose to install a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism at least 54 inches off the ground on any door leading out to your pool. As with the home exit alarm, this is best paired with some kind of barrier in order to protect both your own kids and potentially trespassing neighborhood children.

 

Pool Safety Is Worth the Investment

 

The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act isn’t just an elaborate plan to get you to spend more money when building your pool; backyard pool drowning is a major issue in Florida, and it’s important that all homeowners with pools do what they can to minimize this risk. The initial cost of adding something like a barrier or a pool cover is far less than the cost of a life.

 

 

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children

Swimming Pool Drains Pose Major Danger to Children
Do you have a backyard pool that has been on your property for years? Do you know if that pool uses a drain system? If so, you may need to add some new safety features to keep your family safe this summer.

 

Many older pools, both public and residential, were built with drains because pool designers originally believed drains were necessary to keep water circulating and reduce contamination. However, the suction created by these drains can exert 500 or more pounds of pressure if a person or object becomes stuck in them, making it almost impossible to lift someone who is trapped against one of these underwater drains.

 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 83 reported swimming pool drain accidents between 1999 and 2008, including 11 deaths. This number is most likely a low estimate, as medical records and the police don’t always report the specific cause of drowning deaths. Whatever the exact number, it’s clear that the majority of accident victims are children who do not recognize the potential dangers of swimming pool drains.

 

Pool Designers Moving Away from Drains, but Older Pools Still a Problem

 

In recent years, swimming pool designers have looked at computational fluid dynamics using computer simulations of pools and have discovered that pools without drains are no less effective than pools with drains when it comes to circulating the water. This knowledge, paired with reports of horrific child drowning accidents, has led many designers to eliminate drains altogether from modern pools. Those public pools that were already built with drains are now required to use special rounded drain covers that don’t create suction.

 

Unfortunately, regulations on residential pools vary from state to state, and removing unsafe drains is not always a requirement. In Florida, people who have residential pools are only required to have one of several specifically outlined safety features, and some of those safety features are not necessarily enough to prevent a drowning accident (it is possible for a child to fall through a swimming pool cover, for example).

 

If you own a swimming pool, it is up to you to take the proper precautions to prevent drain-related and other drowning accidents.

 

5 Tips to Keep Your Pool Safe

 

Tips Keep Your Pool Kid Safe
If kids are going to be using your pool this summer, keep the following safety tips in mind: (It’s a good idea to follow these tips whether your pool has drains or not.)

 

1. Always supervise children. Never leave children without adult supervision in a pool, even if they have taken swimming lessons and appear to be competent swimmers (swimming abilities will not help if they become stuck on a drain).

2. Add a safety fence. Create some kind of barrier that completely surrounds your pool and that kids cannot easily climb over.

3. Update your pool’s safety features. If your pool currently has flat drain covers that create suction, upgrade to the kind of domed pool covers that public pools now use. You should also consider investing in a safety vacuum release system, which will cause pool drains to stop creating suction if a person or object becomes stuck in them.

4. Warn kids about drain dangers. Even if your pool already has domed covers and a safety vacuum release system, caution your kids to stay clear of the drain. They should also avoid wearing jewelry or baggy clothing and should put long hair in a bun or ponytail to prevent themselves from getting caught on any of the pool’s features.

5. Don’t try to lift a child straight off a pool drain. Because traditional pool drains have such powerful suction, it is impossible to pull a stuck child straight off the pool drain. If your child does become stuck, you will need to wedge your fingers or arm in between the child and the drain to break the suction, and then you will have to roll the child away from the drain.

 

If you take the proper precautions and know what to do in the event of an emergency, there’s no reason why you and your family can’t enjoy your backyard pool this summer.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.