What are the Florida Legal Rights of Parents Following the Drowning Death of a Child, Infant, or Toddler?

Swimming-Pool-Drowning-150x150In the State of Florida, warm weather allows for swimming and water related activities during most of the year. Of course, summer time is the most popular and populated swim period.  With hot weather in the summer, swimming can be a great way for children to play, relax, and have fun.  However, swimming related activities and locations can also be the site of a tragedy when a child dies as a result of a drowning.  Children are naturally curious. Furthermore, young children especially toddlers have very poor safety awareness.  Because of this, it is important that small children are properly supervised at all times and that swimming pools have proper barriers to the protection of toddlers and young children.
David Wolf, a partner with the law firm of Wood, Atter, & Wolf, P.A. is a child injury attorney based in Jacksonville, Florida who handles cases throughout the State of Florida. He is the author of 11 books including the book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know.  The book covers a number of topics including Homeowner’s Insurance, Swimming Pools, Water Parks, and Other Bodies of Water, Sports and Recreational Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
It is reported that drowning deaths among all age groups is the sixth leading cause of unintentional deaths.  For children 14 and under, drowning is reported as the second leading cause of unintentional deaths.  Despite the known dangers of swimming pools for children, there are still a number of deaths reported over the summer and other times of years of a small child wandering into a pool area and drowning.
When a child drowns while under the supervision of a babysitter, child care provider, family member, neighbor, or friend, a legal case can be brought against the at-fault person and / or the homeowner for negligence.  If a person assumes or agrees to be responsible for the supervision of a child, the breach of this duty can then produce a legal case to pursue on behalf of the surviving parents of the child.  There are many factors that are considering when evaluating a drowning death related case or cause of action.  One practical consideration involves the availability of homeowner’s insurance, liability insurance or some other form of insurance that could provide compensation for the parents pursuing a wrongful death case due to the drowning incident.
In the State of Florida, there are certain laws and procedures for the pursuit of a wrongful death act.  It should be noted that the damages are based on the loss, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life of the surviving parents rather than the pain and suffering of the child who drowned.  It should be made clear that no case and no amount of compensation can ever under any circumstance adequately compensate the parents of a child who dies as a result of the negligence or fault of others; however, a civil case for wrongful death really only has one legal remedy which does focus around compensation for the parents who lost a child due to the drowning.
Unless the drowning death case involves a government entity as the defendant, there are not limits under Florida law as to the amount of damages or compensation for the parents surviving the tragic death of the child.  However, it again should be noted that insurance does play a role as to how a case is evaluated and valued.  For instance, let’s say that a child drowns in a neighbor’s pool.  The neighbor carried $100,000 in homeowner’s insurance liability coverage.  Certainly, the drowning death of a small child due to the negligence of another person is typically worth multiple times the available coverage limits of $100,000; however, in most instances, it is likely that the case would be settled for the $100,000 for practical reasons.  Each case or claim must be evaluated on its own facts and merits. Furthermore, it is important to have a Florida Child Injury Lawyer handle the case to make sure that the parents are provided appropriate advice, guidance, and legal representation regarding the Florida Wrongful Death Case.
Attorney David Wolf provides a Free Consultation on all personal injury cases including those cases involving the drowning of a child. If the case is accepted for legal representation, the case will be handled on a contingency basis.  That means that there will be no attorney fees or costs charged to the client by the law firm unless there is a financial recovery or settlement.
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