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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Mother Files Wrongful Death After Child Dies in Swimming Pool


The mother of a four-year-old boy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Cape Cod campground after the child drowned in a swimming pool. The lawsuit is alleging gross negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress along with wrongful death. According to the family, there was no lifeguard on duty at the time of the child’s death, but there is no legal requirement to have a lifeguard on duty. Indeed, after the incident, some changes were made. Today, one adult is required for every five children in the pool. However, there is no indication as to how this is enforced other than a sign posted in the general vicinity. The new regulation also required an emergency phone to be placed in the pool area, so that local dispatch can be warned if anyone is drowning.

Inspection Issues 

The campground was inspected prior to the incident and revealed that one of the pools had a loose handrail along with some chemical issues. Neither issue would have contributed to the death of the young boy. Otherwise, the campgrounds received passing grades on inspection. However, the local board passed stricter rules for licensing public and semi-public pools. The new rules do not require a lifeguard to be on duty. The new rules only require that a sign be posted in the pool area that states for every five children under the age of 16, there must be one adult. This requirement would only shift liability onto the parents. If their child dies in an untended pool area, the defendants will always be able to point to their sign and say that the parents were in open violation of an ordinance. The ordinance will give the campgrounds a better legal defense next time a child dies.

Pool Drowning Lawsuits 

Pool drowning lawsuits are filed under a theory of premises liability. The most important thing to know about premises liability lawsuits is that negligence is proven when the plaintiff can show that the dangerous condition on the premises was either known or should have been known to the premises owner or operator. When one actor invites another actor onto their premises, the inviter assumes liability for dangerous conditions. If someone is injured because of a dangerous condition they left in place, they are liable.

In this case, the pool itself was the dangerous condition, and it was made available to children without the presence of a lifeguard. Since anyone could reasonably assume that an unguarded pool represents a serious risk of death to children, the child’s death is foreseeable regardless of whether there is an ordinance in place requiring a lifeguard to be on duty at all times. In fact, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children under the age of 15.

Pool owners and operators can be sued when they don’t properly maintain their premises, fail to supervise the pools, fail to train, or have qualified people on staff to act as lifeguards, failure to warn about the lack of lifeguards, and defective on-grounds equipment.

Talk to a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today 

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a pool, call the Tampa wrongful death attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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