Two young lives full of promise have been cut short in an apparent drowning. Dairion Demesier, 6 years old, an outgoing and vivacious little boy, according to reports, was discovered early last week in a nearby neighbor's pool, along with another boy, Jean Orilas, 10 years old. It is unclear how exactly the double-drowning transpired.
But one thing is clear, according to Craig Goldenfarb, personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach who handles accidental drowning cases: neither of these boys had to die, and someone is to blame. Negligence on the part of the homeowner of the property on which the boys died may exist, and here's why.
The homeowner may be at least partly to blame for the drowning
There is a series of Florida state laws that are intended to prevent, delay, or detect accidental drownings and near drownings before it occurs, designed to protect the most vulnerable, which in this case includes unsupervised children. It's called the
Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act.
The law requires that residential pools be equipped with at least one safety feature. Acceptable safety features include only one of the following: a pool barrier or self-latching gate that surrounds the pool itself; a pool cover; a release mechanism that is no lower than 54 inches above the ground for any gate, door, or fence entrance that leads to a an area where a residential pool is located.
Penalties for violations of this sensible safety act are punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor. Pools that exist prior to the law being passed are not explicitly exempted by the law, so if your home doesn't meet the minimum safety standards, you need to be proactive in electing to install one of the safety features.
The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act also lays the foundation for state-sponsored swimming pool drowning prevention education program. Pool ownership is a privilege, not a right. And it comes with the responsibility to keep the pool safe and inaccessible for those who can hurt or kill themselves, like children.
That responsibility ultimately falls on the shoulders of the homeowner, or property owner, says Craig Goldenfarb.
"This isn't the first case of an accidental drowning of two young, precious lives here in Palm Beach County, and it certainly won't be the last. But these safety features exist for a reason – they stifle the rate of these sad, preventable deaths", says Mr. Goldenfarb. "What if the safety features were not installed on the property where young Dairion and Jean died? This homeowner, or his insurance company, should be held liable for this awful tragedy."
If you or someone you love has suffered through the tragedy of losing a loved one due to an accidental drowning, please call Craig Goldenfarb at (561) 697-4440 to speak with us about a potential personal injury case. The call is free, and our firm works on contingency, which means we are only paid if we win a settlement or verdict for you. Call us today for a free consultation.