50+ years representing
only the injured

Florida hotels can be liable for guest drownings

For many parts of Florida, spring break is almost at its peak. While there is nothing wrong with youthful exuberance, whenever alcohol and bodies of water combine, the risk of drowning rises.

Drowning can occur in the ocean, a pool or even a hot tub. For spring breakers or other guests at a hotel or condo, there is usually a pool or hot tub located right on the premises. If a guest drowns or is injured while in the spa or pool, who is liable?

Usually to recover damages for a drowning or near-drowning, there has to be some type of reckless actions or negligence involved that led up to the incident. For instance, if horseplay that went too far caused someone to drown, those individuals involved and possibly the property owner could be civilly liable for the death.

Another example is when a property owner is negligent. There are federal laws regulating the design of the drains on spas or pools to prevent suction from recirculating water from trapping people underwater and drowning them.

If a hotelier neglected to upgrade the drain covers for the pool or spa and a suction drowning occurs, he or she could face liability for the death. Even if the person doesn’t die but suffers injuries attributed to negligence, financial recovery is possible through a claim for damages with the insurance company that covers the property.

Some property owners and insurance companies may balk at offering a settlement or attempt to low-ball a claimant. When that happens, it may be necessary to file suit in the Florida civil courts.

Source: Findlaw, “Drowning,” accessed March 25, 2016