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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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What to Do if You or a Loved One is Injured in a Parasailing Accident

Offering the thrill of gliding through the air hundreds of feet above the water, parasailing is a popular activity for Florida residents and visitors. Most parasailers return to the ground safely—but when accidents do occur, they can result in death or catastrophic injury. According to the Parasail Safety Council, more than 70 people were killed and at least 1,800 were injured while parasailing between 1982 and 2012. Common causes of accidents include:

  • Tow line separating from the boat, which may cause riders to suffer whiplash and/or crash into surrounding buildings or terrain.
  • Equipment failure, including failure of the harness.
  • Damaged or failed canopy/parachute, which could cause the canopy to begin spinning in the sky, thereby heightening the risk of tow line failure.
  • High winds and/or defective equipment, which could necessitate an emergency water landing or cause the canopy to be pulled back into the boat too quickly—thereby injuring riders.

Despite the potential for danger, parasailing remains virtually unregulated. While the White-Miskell Act—a 2014 Florida law that Attorney John Leighton helped get enacted—imposed some minimum standards to make parasailing safer, there is still a notable risk of tragic accidents. If you or a loved one is injured while parasailing, here are a few important steps to take:

  • Record as many details about the experience as possible. While parasailing accidents tend to be traumatic and it may be difficult to think clearly, try to make note of factors such as the weather conditions, the condition of the parasailing equipment, comments made by the operators, and anything notable that happened in the moments leading up to the accident. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, even details that seemed insignificant at the time could be helpful to your case.
  • Speak to witnesses and ask for their contact information.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney with experience in parasailing accidents as soon as possible. As with any other provider of recreational activities, parasail operators owe a duty of care to their customers, which means that they must ensure reasonably safe conditions in accordance with industry standards. When a parasail operator breaches this duty and the breach causes injury to a victim, the victim (or the victim’s family, if the accident resulted in death) may have a negligence or wrongful death claim against the company. It may be possible to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, physical and emotional suffering, and more. However, it’s important to act swiftly—in Florida, the statute of limitations for negligence actions is four years from the date of the accident, and only two years from the date of death for wrongful death claims.

Unsure where to turn after a parasailing accident? At Leighton Law, our team has recovered some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Florida for victims of parasailing accidents and their families. As vocal advocates of the White-Miskell Act, we are well-versed in the legal requirements for parasail operators and the common causes of incidents. We have handled parasailing and water sports accidents involving serious injuries and death.  Please call us today at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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