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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    Resort Torts: Travel, Vacation & Theme Park Injuries

    Resort Torts (resort injuries) encompass almost every aspect of personal injury litigation. Resort Torts are personal injury cases for negligent or criminal acts that occur in a resort, vacation, travel or recreational setting. These may involve aspects of hotel and motel safety, cruise ship litigation, pleasure boating and jet ski incidents, amusement park and theme park liability, aquatic, diving and swimming incidents, foreign travel and medical emergencies, gaming and casinos, aviation, rental car liability, moped, bicycle and motorcycle safety, buses and tour guides, travel industry liability for crime victims, and medical care provided to vacationers.

    Resort Torts can encompass a vast array of types of cases, but they all have one thing in common: tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacationing or engaging in resort or pleasure activities.

    Because Florida is a resort destination, and due in large part to our year-round climate that encourages resort activities, these injuries occur with great frequency here. Tourists by their very nature are less attentive to dangers because they are in a strange place and are focused on enjoying the surroundings. Because of their lack of familiarity and awareness of risks that would be otherwise known to the proprietors of certain businesses, tourists are easy targets. As a result, in Florida innkeepers owe guests a high duty of care in providing them protection.

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    With 82 million visitors each year, Florida is a tourist haven. There must be places to house these visitors and facilities to entertain and amuse them. The travel and resort industry has responded, and Florida is flush with places to stay and things to do. The draw to the state includes 1,200 miles of sandy beaches and over 8,000 lakes. Yet there are hazards hidden from tourists, who are usually on vacation and unaware of the dangers they face. These hazards can include premises liabilities such as trip and falls, violent crime/negligent security, defective premises design or layout, defective products, transportation negligence (plane crashes, car crashes, boating mishaps), medical malpractice, cruise ship injuries and many other types of dangers.

    Some examples of Resort Torts include the following types of cases:


    • Airlines
    • Sightseeing Aviation: Helicopters and General Aviation (private planes)
    • Rental Cars
    • Car services (Uber, Lyft)
    • Taxis
    • Buses
    • Cruise Ships
    • Bicycles and Mopeds

    Boating and Water Sports

    • Pleasure Craft
    • Cruise ships
    • Jet Ski
    • Diving/Snorkeling
    • Fishing Charters
    • Parasailing

    Our experience with parasailing tragedies and fighting for regulation of this industry:


    • Theme Parks
    • Amusement Parks
    • Malls/Shopping Centers
    • Gaming: Casinos and Indian Gaming
    • Pools and Aquatics
    • Tennis
    • Golfing/Golf carts
    • Bars and Nightclubs

    Lodging/Innkeeper Liability

    • Hotels, Motels, Resorts and Inns
    • Cruise Ships

    Examples of cases in which Leighton Panoff Law lawyers have represented clients against hotels/resorts/amusement and theme parks:

    • Hot coffee spilled by waitress at theme park into lap of restaurant patron
    • Slip and fall on wet marble floors in hotel entrance without any wet floor warning
    • Honeymoon wrongful death/massive burns due to gas leak at resort hotel in the Dominican Republic
    • Trip and fall on hotel entrance sidewalk due to obstruction
    • Bicycle and moped accidents causing injuries to Key West tourists
    • Tourists assaulted at motel due to inadequate lighting and security
    • Sexual assault of child at theme park by employee
    • Sexual assault on hotel property
    • Assault and battery in hotel parking garage
    • Slip and fall on outdoor hotel stairway
    • Slip and fall in chain restaurant
    • Death, neurologic injuries and brain damage from negligently operated parasailing rides
    • Sexual assault at theme park on adult guest
    • Slip and fall at theme park
    • Slip and fall in pool area where water failed to drain on pool deck
    • jet ski accidents

    Examples of cases in which Leighton Panoff Law lawyers have represented clients in cruise ship and/or boating cases:

    • Wrongful death of scuba diver on cruise excursion in the Florida Keys
    • Wrongful death of motorboat passenger where boat operator crashed into a residential boat dock
    • Head and neck injury resulting from cruise ship mooring line snapping, striking a passenger while seated in the dining room
    • Slip and fall by cruise passenger on ship pool deck
    • Severe back injuries from slip and fall in cruise ship spa
    • Electrocution death of a teenager on an electric boat lift
    • Sexual assault of passenger by crew member
    • Medical negligence claim for wrongful death against cruise line
    • Death of teenager from negligently operated parasailing ride
    • Traumatic brain injury to young woman from recreational boating
    • Serious injuries from a jet ski crash
    • Cruise ship assault
    • Negligent medical care to passengers aboard cruise ships

    Mr. Leighton frequently lectures on Resort, Travel and Vacation injuries across Florida and the country, and has provided overviews to members of the legal and business community at the Hotel Intercontinental in Miami at the inaugural Resort Tort Roundtable sponsored by the Miami Daily Business Review. This was followed by the hugely successful Resort Torts: Vacation, Resort and Recreational Liability seminars in Orlando (sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association) and Miami (sponsored by the Daily Business Review). This year our education programs provided lawyers with 5.5 hours of continuing legal education credit (including 4 hours for board certification).

    Mr. Leighton also speaks on resort and vacation injuries throughout the United States to other trial lawyers and the general public. Mr. Leighton’s Resort Tort seminars are presented several times a year throughout the State of Florida to lawyers and members of the business communities. These annual seminars take place in Miami and Orlando and feature updates on developments in the field of resort, vacation and recreational litigation.

    Mr. Leighton is a founding member of the Resort Tort Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and has been a leader in this emerging field. As Chairman of the American Trial Lawyer’s Inadequate Security Litigation Group, President-elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and author of the book Litigating Premises Security Cases, Mr. Leighton brings his skills in premises liability and violent crime litigation to each Resort Tort/vacation injury case he handles. Considered one of the best resort injury lawyers in Florida, Mr. Leighton is often hired by other lawyers from around the country to consult on their cases or represent their clients.

    Leighton’s recent article, “How To Improve Parasailing Safety Through Economic Disincentives,” South Florida Legal Guide, Vol. 14 No. 2, was picked up by several news organizations and is being used to model safety legislation to help prevent future parasailing tragedies.

    John Leighton fought for passage of the first law in the United States regulating the parasailing industry. Although Florida’s parasailing safety law falls short of what we believe would provide true protection for visitors, it is the first step toward minimizing injuries in an otherwise unregulated industry.

    Mr. Leighton regularly authors articles about resort and vacation safety. These include tips on avoiding injury and death while vacationing, cruise ship and boating safety, theme park accidents, travel injuries and how to protect your family while enjoying a vacation in Florida.  Most recently his article entitled “Ten Tips to Avoid a Deadly Vacation: Surviving Resorts, Cruise Ships and Hotels is No Accident” was published in the South Florida Legal Guide.

    The resort and vacation industry in Florida has a strong lobby. Because Florida is a such a vacation destination it takes aggressive, skilled lawyers to overcome some of the hurdles thrown in the path of victims of negligence, especially those which are the fault of the resort or amusement provider. Mr. Leighton routinely litigates cases against high profile resort and hospitality defendants such as Disney, Hilton, Westin, Marriott, Universal and others.  Mr. Leighton’s verdict against Disney in the case of Allocco v. Walt Disney is one of many wins on behalf of our clients and against themes parks and the large Florida resort industry.  That commitment to the public continues today.

    With offices in Miami and Orlando, the firm continues to lead the fight for enhanced safety for visitors to Florida and those traveling for both leisure and business. Our offices span the state to provide our clients with the highest quality aggressive legal representation. Leighton Panoff Law represents clients against the state’s theme parks, amusements, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, taxi companies and recreational providers.

    Click here for examples of our pending and finalized resort tort/vacation injury cases.

    Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case as each case is unique. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that every case is different and each case must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.



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