Drowning Death Lawsuits in Florida – The Complete Guide
Drowning death accidents are extremely tragic. Whether they occur in the ocean, a lake, a river, or a pool, many of these accidents happen as the result of property and boat owners’ negligence. These parties often do not take the steps required to keep guests and passengers safe.
Fortunately, there are several types of damages that victims’ families can recover after drowning deaths in Florida. The damages you are awarded can vary depending on a wide array of circumstances surrounding your case. Fortunately, during your free case assessment, our legal team can help identify the types of compensation available to you.
If you loved was killed because of drowning accident, seek guidance from our Miami drowning death attorneys by calling Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.
Where Can Drowning Deaths Happen in Florida?
The state of Florida affords its residents and guests countless opportunities to enjoy the water. Unfortunately, there are also many drowning deaths that occur. These types of devastating accidents can happen at several different locations. For example, the following are all places where drowning deaths regularly happen in Florida:
There are several potential causes of drowning deaths in pools. For example, many of such accidents happen because proper barriers are not set up around pools’ perimeters. Additionally, many children suffer fatal drowning accidents because they were not appropriately supervised. Finally, some drowning deaths in pools happen as the result of circulation entrapment. Circulation entrapment occurs when swimmers are trapped by suction that is generated by water rushing out of pools. This typically happens to young swimmers when their limbs, hair, jewelry, or other accessories become stuck.
Homeowners are responsible for watching their pools and supervising children that play in them. Furthermore, the attractive nuisance doctrine holds owners responsible for dangerous conditions on their properties that are likely to attract children. Children are curious by nature and may not appreciate the dangers and risks posed by an uncovered pool.
Water and Amusement Parks
Furthermore, a high number of drowning deaths happen Florida’s water and amusement parks. Like drowning accidents that happen in pools, many water and amusement park accidents happen because the property owners did not adequately supervise guests or maintain their swimming pools. For instance, a child at an amusement park may drown because there were not enough lifeguards on duty to supervise a large crowd of people. Furthermore, someone partaking in an amusement ride at a water park may suffering a drowning death because their ride did not operate properly.
If your loved one suffered a fatal drowning accident at a water park or amusement park, you may be able to sue the park’s owner for financial compensation. However, there are several factors that must be analyzed when assessing your case. You can consult with our Florida Keys drowning death attorneys to determine whether you have a valid claim.
Florida’s beaches draw tourists from all over the world. Unfortunately, many of these visitors suffer fatal drowning accidents. It is easy to overlook the many dangers posed by the accessible waters along Florida’s beaches. The waves and tides have the ability to pull swimmers under water and overtake them suddenly.
For instance, rip currents are one of the leading causing of drowning deaths at Florida beaches. These are powerful, channeled currents that carry people directly away from shore. After drowning accidents caused by rip currents, victims’ families may be able to hold local municipalities accountable for failing to properly warn or rip currents or failing to adequately train their life guards.
Hotels and Motels
Finally, many drowning deaths happen at hotels and motels across Florida. There are multiple types of drowning accidents that can happen at a hotel or motel. For instance, a child guest may drown because of an unsupervised or poorly barricaded pool. Additionally, a drowning death happen at a hotel or motel because of a slip and fall accident that occurred by the side of a pool.
If your loved one suffered a fatal drowning accident in the pool of a hotel or motel, you may be able to pursue financial compensation. However, Florida law takes the position that liability is not extended to hotels and motels for ocean drownings caused by the natural characteristics of the waters in which they happen. Therefore, if your loved one suffered a drowning death because of a rip current or large waves in the ocean, then it may be unlikely that you can hold a hotel or motel responsible for the death.
Who is Most at Risk to Die of Drowning in Florida?
According to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. A link to the report can be found here. Drowning accounts for 7% of unintentional injury deaths each year, with an average of 236,000 drowning deaths occurring annually.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also created a report on drowning death statistics that can be found here. According to the CDC, children are the most likely group of people to suffer drowning deaths. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are particularly susceptible to suffering these accidents and most of them happen in swimming pools. A report by Florida Health asserts that between 2017 and 2019, Florida was ranked the highest in the country for unintentional drowning death rate among children in this age group. A link to that report can be found here.
Additionally, the CDC states that males are more likely suffer drowning deaths than females. Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning accidents are males. The report from the CDC speculates that this statistic may be related to increased exposure to water, a higher inclination to engage in risk-taking behavior, and increased alcohol use.
Finally, people with seizure disorders and other medical conditions like epilepsy are also more prone to suffering drowning deaths in Florida. Many people with seizure disorders suffer drowning deaths in bathtubs. However, such accidents can also happen in pools, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Is Drowning Always an Accident?
Some drowning deaths will be considered accidental. Meanwhile, others happen as the result of negligent actions committed by property owners, product manufacturers, and alcohol venders. In such cases, victims’ families may be able to seek financial compensation from at-fault parties. After your loved one suffers a drowning death, you should evaluate the strength of your potential lawsuit with help from our experienced Hialeah personal injury attorneys.
A high number of drowning deaths happen because of property owners’ negligence. For instance, children curious by nature and many of them suffer drowning accidents after being lured to pools that are not properly barricaded or supervised. In these cases, liability may extend to property owners under the attractive nuisance doctrine. As previously discussed, this doctrine allows property owners to be held accountable for dangerous conditions that exist on their properties that are likely to attract young children.
Furthermore, there are many other types of drowning accidents that property owners can be sued for. For example, an amusement park owner may be held liable for a drowning death that occurred because a visitor suffered circulation entrapment at the bottom of a pool. Further, a hotel guest may suffer a deadly drowning accident because their hotel’s pool was not adequately supervised. In such cases, victims’ families may be able to pursue payment from the at-fault property owners.
Defective Flotation Devices
Additionally, some drowning deaths occur because swimmers are equipped with defective flotation devices. Some of these types of accidents happen in pools because children were equipped with defective water wings, inner tubes, or life vests. However, many of these accidents also happen on rivers, on lakes, and in the ocean when boat passengers are not equipped with functioning life vests.
If your loved one suffered a fatal drowning accident because of a defective flotation device, you may be able to sue the product’s manufacturer for monetary damages. However, these types of lawsuits can be complicated. There are several types of evidence that may be necessary to support such a claim. Therefore, it is important to hire competent legal representation when building your claim against the manufacturer of a defective flotation device.
Drugs and Alcohol
Finally, many drowning accidents happen because people were impaired by the use of drugs or alcohol. It is more likely that swimmers will drown while impaired. After some drowning accidents caused by drug and alcohol use, landowners can be held liable. For example, if someone under the age of 21 drowned after consuming alcohol on a hotel premises, then the hotel may be sued by the victims’ family.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drowning Death in Florida?
There are multiple parties who may be held liable for a drowning death in Florida. Determining who is liable for the death in your case will involve assessing the full range of circumstances surrounding their accident.
First, residential and public pool owners may be held liable for certain drowning deaths. For example, if your child drowned because they wandered onto another person’s premises and fell into an unprotected pool, then you may sue that pool’s owner for monetary damages.
Hotels, resorts, and motels can also be held liable for drowning accidents that occur on their premises. In many cases, these deaths occur because property owners did not provide adequate supervision for their guests.
Furthermore, dock and marina owners can be sued for drowning deaths they cause. These types of accidents regularly happen because of slip and falls caused by dangerous conditions on docks. For example, someone may suffer a fatal accident because they stepped on a dock’s loose floorboard, causing them to fall into the water.
Finally, those who operate their boats negligently can be sued for drowning accidents suffered by their passengers. For example, a driver may collide with another boat’s wake at an excessive speed, causing their passengers to be thrown from their vessel. In that case, the at-fault boat driver could be held responsible for their passenger’s death.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Drowning Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Fortunately, there are several types of damages that may be pursued by families of drowning death victims in Florida. However, the damages available to plaintiffs in such cases can vary drastically from case to case. If your loved one suffered a drowning death in Florida, then any of the following forms of compensation may be available to you:
After a fatal drowning accident, the victim’s family may be entitled to economic losses suffered by the deceased. Examples of these losses would include the cost of medical treatment and lost wages incurred by victims in the time between their injuries and their death.
Additionally, victims’ families may be able to pursue economic losses they sustained such as the lost financial support the deceased would have provided as well as their funeral and burial costs.
The families of drowning death victims may also be entitled to financial compensation for non-economic damages their loved one suffered before passing away. For instance, if a victim underwent a great deal of pain and suffering before succumbing to their drowning accident injuries, then their family may be entitled to payment for that pain and suffering.
Furthermore, families can recover damages for their own non-economic losses. If you are experiencing a loss of companionship, guidance, and protection that was provided by the victim, then you may be able to recover those damages from the at-fault party.
Finally, you may be able to obtain punitive damages if your loved one suffered a drowning accident in Florida. These damages are awarded in order to punish grossly negligent defendants and discourage similar behavior in the future. Accordingly, in order for these damages to be available in your case, the defendant’s conduct must be excessively negligent.
How to Collect Evidence for a Drowning Death Lawsuit in Florida
The evidence used to support your drowning death lawsuit can vary. In many cases, physical evidence and photos from the scene of the accident will be valuable to plaintiffs. Additionally, testimony from eyewitnesses and expert witnesses are frequently used to establish fault in such cases. Further, after some accidents that occur at hotels, resorts, and amusement parts, accident reports are created that help attorneys and insurance companies identify at-fault parties.
Gathering the evidence needed to win your case can be complicated process. Therefore, in the aftermath of a deadly drowning accident, assistance from our legal team can be highly valuable when building your case.
Contact Our Florida Drowning Death Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Get help from our experienced Miami personal injury lawyers by calling Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369 today.