People from all over the state and the country migrate to Florida beaches for recreation and pleasure. There, they sunbath on the land, engage in activities on the water, and take to the air. One of the more daring activities for beach-goers is parasailing. Parasailing is a popular activity to see the beautiful views along the South Florida coast. However, this activity has led to many serious injuries and fatalities on Florida beaches. Another, relatively new activity, is strapping a jet-pack on your back and flying over the water ala James Bond. This activity, although fun, can be dangerous if proper instruction is not provides or faulty equipment is used.
The warm weather and beautiful shoreline attract adventuresome personalities who want to try the various activities offered along the coast, as well as those who would rather indulge in rest and relaxation. Despite the idyllic location, beach accidents do occur and take many forms, including parasailing accidents. If you have been injured in a beach or at sea accident, the experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are committed to learning the facts of your case and developing a strategy to get the award that you need for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Over the past decade or so, there have been more than twenty serious parasailing accidents, leading to half a dozen deaths and twenty injuries. What makes these numbers a little more disconcerting is the fact that this industry is largely unregulated. There are some federal regulations in place, but these are not comprehensive laws and instead impact specific components of the industry. The people who operate these parasailing operations may choose to cooperate with voluntary standards of care, but they are not obligated to do so and many who run the parasailing companies on the beach choose not to comply.
A recent tragic accident has prompted a renewed effort in the Florida legislature to pass a law that will regulate the parasailing industry. The regulations being contemplated are not overly restrictive, they merely seek to correct some of the obvious failings in current parasailing operations, which include:
• Not requiring tow boats to carry a marine weather radio;
• Not requiring parasail operators to carry any type of insurance;
• Not requiring inspections or regular maintenance and repacement of the ropes that tether the parasailer to the boat; and • Not mandating when sails need to be replaced.
Although not overly restrictive, the current regulatory proposals would require that parasailing companies:
• Carry a marine radio on the towing boat;
• Have an insurance policy with two million dollars in coverage; and • Not operate in inclement weather, including high winds.
These seem like common sense requirements, but parasailing operators’ failure to follow basic protocols have led to many tragedies.
In July 2013, twin seventeen year old sisters vacationing in Florida from Indiana decided to try parasailing. They were high above Panama City Beach when the winds picked up and the tether between the boat and the sail broke. The girls collided with power lines before crashing into an SUV. Both girls survived, but they are going to require extensive long-term medical care. The cause of the accident was attributed, in part, to the high winds and the boat being too close to the shoreline.
Other serious accidents also have occurred. In 2012, a Connecticut tourist was parasailing in tandem with her husband when her tether broke and she plunged more than one hundred feet to her death. These serious accidents and fatality are the result of negligence on the part of the operators. Parasailing is just one of many beach activities in which owner or operator error leads to serious harm for innocent victims. Other injuries or deaths on Florida waters are caused by pleasure craft accidents, personal water craft collisions, wind surfing and injuries suffered while on the sand from being run over by vehicles.
If you have suffered an accident on a Florida beach, the Miami personal injury attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are committed to getting you compensation for your injuries and to provide for assistance going forward. Our attorneys have more than three decades of experience getting justice for victims of beach accidents and other tragic events caused by the negligence of others. Please contact us through our website or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to set up your free consultation. Greenberg Stone and Urbano has been voted one of “South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers” by the Miami Herald.