Condominium Pool Slip and Fall
South Florida condos and swimming pools were made for each other. You’d be hard-pressed to find a condominium without one. Most condo residents expect to have access to a big, beautiful pool right outside their door. And they also expect their condo association or homeowner’s association to create a safe place to swim.
But what happens if someone enjoying the condo pool ends up getting hurt while swimming or while in the pool area? Is the condominium association liable for the accident? And if you’re the one hurt in a condo slip and fall accident, how do you prove negligence?
Condo associations and HOAs are expected to maintain a safe environment for residents and guests. If they fail to do so and you get injured while at the condo pool, they may be liable under Florida premises liability laws and you may be entitled to damages. The damages could be for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or other hardships you faced as a result of the accident.
It may be obvious to you that the condo association was in the wrong. But proving negligence is easier said than done. To prove that the association was at fault, you’ll have to overcome two big obstacles standing in your way.
How to Prove Negligence in Florida
The first hurdle is finding enough admissible evidence to prove that the condo’s behavior caused the accident and your injury. Pursuant to Florida case law, the burden of proving the condo was negligent is on the victim.
You’ll have to prove that the condo association had one of two types of knowledge about the dangerous condition:
- Actual Knowledge – they knew the state of the condominium pool presented a dangerous condition that caused the accident.
- Constructive Knowledge – they should have known about the dangerous condition the pool presented.
To prove negligence, you should get the names of any witnesses, take photos, and preserve the shoes and clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident.
For instance, if a witness said she noticed that the lifeguard wasn’t watching the pool at the time of the accident, note the comment, the witnesses’ full name, and her contact information. You should also ask each witness if they captured the accident on video. If so, ask them to send you the footage.
Make sure you request video surveillance footage and incident reports from the association, any reports the medical team or paramedics issued, and any other testimony that’s available. If the owner doesn’t want to provide video or incident report evidence, you can file a lawsuit and ask the judge to issue an order compelling them to provide this information.
The second obstacle you may face when trying to prove negligence is proving that you were, in fact, an invitee of the condo under Florida premises liability law. As a resident of the condo or as a guest of a resident, you may believe you are, by default, an invitee of the condo. But, what happens if the pool area is closed or the accident happens after hours?
There are a lot of hazards around a condo pool that could lead to a slip, trip or fall. Most condo pool slip and fall injuries happen in or around these areas.
- Slippery Pool Decks
- Wet Pool Area Bathroom Floors
- Drinking Fountains
Pool decks and other walking surfaces that are littered with food or debris and not properly cleaned are also a slip and fall risk.
The condominium owner’s duty of care to its unit owners and guests requires it to provide a safe pool area. If the pool deck is not a slip-resistant surface, if food and debris are left on the ground, or if bathroom areas are left wet and slippery, the condo owners are not upholding their duty of care.
There are steps the condominium could take to eliminate these and other common slip and fall hazards. Examples include:
- Install a slip-resistant pool deck surface
- Implement a more frequent staff cleaning schedule to ensure the pool area is clear of debris
- Implement a more frequent bathroom cleaning schedule to keep excess water off of the floor
- Place additional handrails near stairs and uneven surfaces
- Place ‘wet floor’ signs more visibly around the pool area to remind people to walk carefully
- Keep chairs and cabanas away from walkways and other areas of heavy foot traffic to avoid trips
- Inspect drinking fountains daily for any leaks
- Mop the floor beneath drinking fountains daily to keep the areas dry
The condominium could easily take these steps and others to protect unit owners and residents and uphold its duty of care to all invitees.
What Should You Do?
The victims we work with are usually surprised by how difficult it can be to prove negligence in personal injury cases—even condo pool accidents, where the injuries are severe or where negligence on the part of the condominium association appears obvious.
Some are also hesitant to bring a lawsuit again a condominium in the first place. It’s important to know, though, that proving negligence and holding the condo accountable will make the condominium pool safer for future invitees,
If you or a family member were injured in a condo pool accident, you’ll want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with Florida premises liability law.
Your lawyer can help prove to the court that the condo association or HOA failed in its duty of care and, as a result, the injury was due to negligence. After proving the condominium was negligent, your lawyer should help you receive the damages you deserve.
Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, give Alan a call at 945-458-8655.