Articles Posted in Pool Drowning Lawyer

On April 25, 2015, a 20-month-old toddler tragically drowned in an inflatable pool in Ocala, Florida. Media reports claim that the toddler’s mother found him floating face down in the water, on his side. The risk of drowning is a real danger as children can drown in just one to two inches of water, according to the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, Florida. Also according to Florida’s Department of Health, drownings are the number one ranked “unintentional injury cause of death” for children ranging from the ages of one to four.

In Florida, the local building code requires that swimming pools constructed after October 1, 2000 be fitted with at least one “approved safety measure.” Florida’s administrative regulations also place the responsibility for the supervision and safety of any public swimming pools and bathing places on “[a]ll owners, manager, lifeguards or swimming instructors in charge of, or working at, public swimming pools.” However and according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, temporary or small, inflatable pools are not subject to the local building code requirements.

Supervision and compliance with pool rules and regulations are key to fostering pool safety and should not be ignored. Our condolences to the family of the child who lost his life.

Disney Drowning Castaway Cay.jpgTwo drowning incidents occurred at Disney’s Castaway Cay last week. Disney Cruise Lines has its own private island in the Bahamas where their passengers could partake in various aquatic activities. These activates include snorkeling, stingray encounters and simply swimming at the beach. With so many aquatic activates comes the danger of passengers drowning. This sadly occurred last week. A 28-year-old passenger from New York drowned while swimming at the adult beach. He was found unresponsive in the water and later pronounced dead by Bahamian authorities. A second incident involved an adult passenger who was snorkeling. The man was found unconscious in the water, was stabilized then evacuated to Miami for additional medical care. His condition is currently unknown.

Even though these incidents occurred off the cruise ship, maritime law governs Disney’s legal responsibilities owed to the passenger. The law requires Disney to exercise reasonable care for their passengers’ safety. This includes warning of known dangers the passengers may encounter while at Castaway Cay as well as implementing a reasonable safety precautions. Disney is one of the only cruise lines that hire life guards. In is unknown how many life guards were on duty or whether there was a sufficient number to monitor the hundreds of Disney passengers at Castaway Cay.

Our condolences to the family of the passenger who died and our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the passenger who was rescued.

A 4-year-boy nearly drowned in a wave pool aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Oasis of the Seas is in critical condition at a Broward hospital. The cruise ship was less than two hours into its voyage when the boy wandered into the wave pool located on one of the top decks. The child was under water for an estimated five to ten minutes before being rescued by a passenger. Once he was taken out of the water, the ship’s medical team resuscitated the boy. The ship returned to Port Everglades where firefighters and paramedics were standing by to provide emergency additional medical care while transporting the child to an area hospital.

Children wandering into cruise ship pools occurs regularly. The reasons why these accidents occur are largely because cruise lines are not strictly regulated and have decided not to follow logical protocols in regard to pool safety. Cruise lines do not have to follow many pool safety regulations that land-based resorts are required to follow. For example, land based hotels and spas must have fencing around the pool child proof gates. Cruise lines, on the other hand, are not required to have barriers to access cruise ship pools. This leaves the attractiveness of a pool wide open for a child who is separated from his or her parents to enter. Cruise lines could adopt the land based safety standards; however, they do not.
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Florida Canal Drowning Death Attorney.jpgUnfortunately, South Florida’s sunny climate is accompanied by a number of natural and man-made bodies of water that claim lives every day. Making matters worse–the victims are normally our most prized and precious possessions–our children. Just this week, five individuals drowned in a canal, pool or lake. Four of the five individuals were children under the age of ten years old.

One of the children, Jac’Quez Osborne, 9, drowned at a pool party in Southwest Ranches. According to Capt. Engle of the Davie Police Department, Jac’Quez “didn’t know how to swim and somehow ended up in the pool.” Sadly, there was no one within reach that could administer CPR in time.

Another child, Leila Fleming, 4, left with her grandmother, Laura Zulema Fleming, 59, to go feed ducks by a lake in their Silver Shores gated community. They did not return. Both of their bodies were eventually found and recovered from the lake. Autopsies revealed that both Leila and her grandmother drowned. Unfortunately, neither of them knew how to swim.
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Royal Caribbean Drowning.jpgA six-year-old boy was discovered unconscious at the bottom of one of the Royal Caribbean owned cruise ship Independence of the Sea on May 27th. When the boy was found his heat had already stopped. The shipboard doctor (a non-Royal Caribbean employee) was able to restart his heart beating through CPR. The drowning victim was then airlifted by the French navy and is currently treating at a hospital in Brest. The incident happened while the cruise ship was passing northern France near the city of Breton. At the time of the incident the Independence of the Seas was on a six-night Western Europe voyage leaving from Southampton, England.

Pools are considered attractive nuisances for children and child drownings are becoming more and more common on cruise ships. The reason for these tragic events is there are no kiddy fences or life guards. Often times children just wonder in the pools and drown without anyone bring aware. This problem is known industry wide. However, only Disney Cruise Lines currently has life guards assigned to all ship pools and spas. It appears unconscionable for a billion dollar cruise line such as Royal Caribbean to not hire life guards to protect their passengers. Hopefully the bulk of the cruise lines will change their policies and spend the extra money to employ life guards to protect the children aboard their ships.

Child Drown in Norwegian Breakaway Pool.JPGSad news is coming out that a 4-year-old child drowned aboard the Norwegian Breakaway a cruise ship opened by the Miami, Florida based cruise line NCL. Crew members were able to revive a 6-year-old boy also found in the pool. Both boys were found in the ship’s adult pool Monday morning. Most will remember last year a child died aboard a Carnival cruise ship. Our law firm handles all sorts of pool and hot tub related injury and death cases and we often find that such accidents can easily be prevented. In other words, there is NO EXCUSE why a child must die in a swimming pool.

Many vacation resorts install child barricades and hire life guards to minimize the likelihood of injuries and drowning deaths. Florida law requires resort pools to be surrounded by a fence that is at least 48 inches in height with self-closing and self-latching gates. The latches to these gates must be at a minimum 54 inches from the bottom of the gate. These safety measures are designed so that unattended children do not wander into pools and drown. In pools that have sloping transitions, such as cruise ship pools, floating safety lines must be mounted two feet before the dropoff towards the shallow end. This safety feature is designed to mark the deep end and give children something to hold onto if they find themselves in water over their heads. These precautions are relatively inexpensive for the average company and downright cheap for the multi-billion dollar cruise industry. This begs the question why such precautions are not taken on cruise ships?

Child Pool Fence.jpgAt this time, the only major cruise line who employees lifeguards is Disney Cruise Lines (Magical Cruises). Disney’s decision to start using lifeguards was in reaction to a small child who almost drowned aboard its Fantasy cruise ship. If the cruise industry took the minimum precautions as other land-based resorts, child drowning would most differently be rare if not eliminated. One would think an industry that depends upon families vacationing on their ships would put in place basic pool safety precautions to protect the very same families who supports their business.

Suction Entrapment Death Law Firm.jpgThe resort injury lawyers of Brais Law Firm were successful in convincing a Federal court to apply Florida law to a death that occurred in the Bahamas. The case of John Van Hoy, Jr. is heartbreaking. John was on vacation with his fiancée Nicole at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort located Nassau. During his stay, he decided to refresh himself in one of the resort’s hot tubs. As he went under to wet his hair, he became entrapped on the bottom suction drain. Despite the efforts of many people, including other guests at the Sandals’ resort, John remained stuck on the bottom of the hot tub until he drowned. John died that night leaving behind two sons, his mother, father, siblings and Nicole. His death occurred because the hot tub was outfitted by a 12″ x 12″ flat drain cover, the motor / pump assembly were not equipped with a vacuum release system, there were no emergency shut off switch located around the hot tub and it is believed the pump room was locked delaying the shut off of the motor.

Florida Hot Tub Accident Lawyer.jpgBrais Law Firm were hired to represent John’s estate and family. The law firm filed a wrongful death action in Miami, Florida against multiple defendants including: (1) Sandals; (2) the drain cover and pump manufacturer Hayward; (3) the motor manufacturer A.O. Smith as well as the component part distributors Hospitality Purveyors and SCP Distributors. In an effort to significantly reduce the amount of any awardable damages to the Van Hoys, Sandals sought application of Bahamian law to the lawsuit. Under Bahamian law, survivors cannot seek damages for emotion pain and suffer for the death of their loved one and the estate cannot claim damages for any pre-death pain and suffering. As a result, the application of Bahamian law would reduce the Van Hoy’s claim to the amount of the wages John would likely earn in his lifetime and burial expenses. The issue was taken up by the Court in a pretrial motion. Brais Law Firm argued the United States, particularly Missouri and Florida, has a more significant relation to the case than the Bahamas and United States law should apply. The Court agreed with our legal analysis and issued an order applying Florida damages and liability law to the case.

This was Brais Law Firm’s second major victory in this case. Last year Sandals and other defendants attempted to dismiss the case in its entirety requesting the case to be tried in the Bahamas. This motion was denied and the case was allowed to proceed in Florida. You can read more about that decision in our article Judge Rules Sandals Resorts & Pool Component Manufacturers Must Stand Trial in Miami, Florida for Bahamas Entrapment Drowning Death.

Cruise Pool Drowning Lawyer.jpgUnfortunate news is coming out of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Miami headquarters. A 6-year-old boy has drowned in a pool aboard one of its cruise ships. The boy has been identified as Qwentyn Hunter of Winter Garden, Florida. The CARNIVAL VICTORY was on the last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise Sunday when the tragedy happened.

Investigators stated the boy was in the pool with his 10-year-old brother at the time. Most interesting, reports indicate that passengers, not Carnival personnel, pulled the boy from the water and began CPR. For the large part, cruise ship pools and hot tubs are not guarded leaving passengers to fend for themselves in an emergency. Given many families with children cruise with Carnival, this practice falls below the hospitality industries’ safety standards.

The cruise and pool injury lawyers of Brais Law Firm are very experienced will pool accidents occurring on land and on cruise ships. If you or a loved one suffered an aquatic accident any would like to learn more about your rights, feel free to contact our law firm at 800-499-0551 for a free consultation.