South Florida is a popular vacation destination for its weather, beaches, and water attractions, but a recent story is a reminder of how quickly a fun time can turn tragic. According to a Miami’s NBC News Channel 6 report, two children were found unresponsive in a backyard pool early on June 30, 2023. Hollywood Police and Hollywood Fire Rescue responded to the 911 call and provided first aid at the scene before transporting the victims to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. NBC later reported that the two children died at the hospital.
Officials will continue to investigate how these horrific drownings occurred, but an important point may affect how the grieving family moves forward with legal options. The subject property is an Airbnb, and the victims were among the guests. Fortunately, there are options to pursue negligent property owners, including those who make money through home-sharing services. It is essential to retain a Miami swimming accident lawyer for help with legal tasks, but some background is also useful.
Legal Obligations of Property Owners
Under Florida law, those who own, operate, or control property have a duty with respect to visitors and guests who enter it. The legal concept is called premises liability, and it is based on negligence concepts. When a property owner breaches the duty of care, a victim who is hurt by misconduct has legal remedies. Some examples of negligence in premises liability cases include:
- Failing to conduct inspects of the property to detect hazardous conditions;
- Neglecting to make repairs;
- Not placing warning signs for dangerous conditions that cannot be remedied immediately; and,
- Failure to implement security measures to address criminal activity.
Homesharing Services and Liability
The host listing a home, room, or other space on Airbnb is a property owner subject to the legal duty of care. They can be held accountable for the above examples of negligence. In the case of the children who drowned in the host’s pool, there are some specific instances of property owner negligence that may have directly caused the swimming accident.
- The pool may not have been fenced and gated as required by law.
- The drainage and filtration equipment may not comply with regulations, so the system may have sucked and entrapped the children underwater.
- The pool might not have a proper exit and entry by ladder.
Airbnb Host Liability Insurance
Fortunately for victims, Airbnb and other home-sharing services provide insurance coverage for accidents. The company has a host protection insurance policy that pays up to $1 million for bodily injury, including fatal swimming accidents. Air BnB is not itself liable, but the insurance applies to protect the host.
Rely on a Miami Swimming Accidents Attorney for Legal Help
If you or a loved one was affected by a drowning or near-drowning, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA, at (305) 371-6000 or via our website. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach. A Florida swimming accident lawyer can advise you on options.