Two of the most common activities to take place during the summer months are backyard barbecues and pool parties. Florida is a particularly great location for these events because of its proximity to thousands of miles of coastline and other waterways. Although most folks engage in barbeques and swimming parties with little incident, serious injuries can arise if the homeowner or renter fails to take appropriate precautions. According to one recent report, a 13-year-old boy fell into a coma after nearly drowning at a pool party celebrating the end of the school year. Other common injuries include grilling-related accidents, trip and falls, and drunk driving crashes resulting from someone being over-served alcohol at the event.
It is important to understand the liability of homeowners and renters in these situations and to understand your rights should you become involved in an accident. If a landlord or homeowner carries an insurance policy, it will frequently include coverage for medical payments, liability coverage, and structural and personal property coverage. If the property includes a swimming pool, there may be some options to include increased coverage. Also, the insurance policy may provide the insured with legal counsel in the event that someone who is injured on the premises sues the landlord for negligence. The injured party will need to prove that the landlord or renter was negligent and that this failure to act with appropriate care was the direct cause of the injuries that he or she sustained. In general, property owners owe guests a duty to ensure that the property is in safe repair and to provide warnings about any known dangerous conditions on the property.
Before hosting a barbecue or pool party, check your property for any potentially dangerous conditions like uneven walkways, broken staircases, potholes in the lawn, or poorly lit hallways. If there is a potentially dangerous condition that you cannot sufficiently address before the event, post a sign and provide a verbal warning to guests about its existence, or consider blocking off the dangerous area from guests’ access entirely.
Alcoholic beverages are common at barbecues and pool parties, but they are often to blame for serious injuries and accidents. Do not let a guest become dangerously intoxicated while on your property, and make sure that minors are never allowed to imbibe at the event. If a guest has had too much to drink, make sure they take a cab home or give them a ride if you are sober enough to operate a motor vehicle.
When it comes to swimming, make sure that minors are supervised at all times and prevent children from diving into the shallow end of the pool or engaging in otherwise dangerous swimming activities. Get a good idea of whether each child is a capable swimmer before allowing him or her to enter the pool without his or her parents supervising.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a barbecue or swimming party, you may be entitled to compensation. At Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, our premises liability lawyers have assisted victims in Fort Myers, Naples, and Cape Coral with investigating their potential claim, filing a lawsuit, negotiating with insurance companies, and seeking the settlement or the judgment that they deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 1-800-283-7442 or contact us online.