The majority of Florida’s pool-related accidents and deaths are due to drowning, but other factors may cause the death of a loved one in or near a pool as well. Faulty pool equipment can also be serious problem, for example. North Miami was the scene of a recent incident.
Faulty Wiring May Have Led to North Miami Boy’s Death
On April 13, a seven-year-old boy was swimming in his family’s pool under the supervision of his long-time nanny when his body was suddenly jolted from the water. Miami detectives have been investigating the pool and determined that the cause of death was electrocution, but the investigation is not over, according to media reports.
In the Miami case, a pool light is suspected to be the cause of the fatal electrical shock. Media reports note that the family had hired a contractor to fix the pool light because it wasn’t turning on. The contractor may not have properly wired the light, as the light switch to the pool may have been improperly grounded, according to a Miami-Herald report. Electricity may have been flowing into the pool rather than diverting away from it.
The current flowing into the pool may have corroded the steel encasement. Water was allowed into the light, sending the electric charge through the pool. According to Local 10 in South Florida, experts have also noted that the salty environment in the area may also contribute to loose and broken connections on the electrical equipment.
There have been other cases of electrocution linked to a pool light. In August 2013, a man swimming in a hotel pool in Houston, Texas was electrocuted when the pool lights activated. He and several others suffered electric shock while in the pool, which investigators found had not been up to Texas electrical codes for several years. The man saved a boy from the water but was unfortunately unable to save himself from the electrical shock.
Liability for Pool Equipment-related Injuries or Fatalities
When a pool-related injury or death occurs, investigators must first determine the cause of death and the circumstances that resulted in the injury or death. If pool equipment is involved, a contractor or repairman or the equipment manufacturer may be liable for damages. Much depends on the case details.
It is the equipment manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure the equipment is safe and issue a recall for any dangerous or defective pool equipment. Contractors are responsible for following all safety protocol, especially when working with electricity around a body of water like a pool.
In the case mentioned above, a Miami Herald article notes that no permits were pulled or inspections performed at the family’s home. This is a requirement when doing pool electrical work more complicated than changing a light bulb, notes the Herald citing a city spokeswoman. The investigation into this particular case is ongoing.
As attorneys and parents, Jason and Debi Chalik understand how important pool safety is for children of all ages. See the Parents’ Corner on our blog for articles written especially for South Florida parents. And if you are ever in need of legal help, call us at 855-529-0269.