Bryant, Higby & Barr - Attorneys At Law

Parasailing laws do not address the real safety issues

On a beautiful morning, you and a friend decided to go parasailing. Maybe it was something you always wanted to try - gliding through the air above the waters - and this vacation to Florida was the perfect time to try. Yes, maybe it was a little breezy, but the captain didn't seem bothered as he buckled the harness around you.

Then something went wrong. The harness broke or the winds flung you into the water, and you ended up in the back of an ambulance on your way to the hospital. Your injury brings a tragic end to your vacation.

Legislation long overdue

Since 1998, six people have died in Florida alone in parasailing accidents, and 38 people have been injured. The past three years have seen a sharp decline in injuries and fatalities because of new safety legislation, but some feel this is just a Band-Aid on a deeper wound.

It took back-to-back tragedies for lawmakers to admit the parasailing industry needed some safety regulations. In the first accident in 2012, a woman's harness separated, dropping her to her death 450 feet into the water.

You may have been one of the millions of people who watched the uploaded video from the 2013 incident when high winds lifted a parasail carrying two young women and slammed it into the side of a hotel, critically injuring them both. The state enacted the new law one year later.

New law does not go far enough

Now, parasail businesses are required to carry $2 million insurance policies and are forbidden to sail when the weather is windy, stormy or foggy. However, critics say that this is just common sense. Captains know not to sail in bad weather. They say the law does not address the most dangerous element of parasailing.

Equipment failures, such as faulty buckles or worn harnesses, are the most common reason for parasailing accidents. The law should - but does not - include regular inspections of equipment. Additionally, the law does not provide guidelines for safety briefings for you as a passenger or rescue training for your captain.

Where to go for help after your accident

While authorities say the number of accidents has dropped to almost zero since the law went into effect, safety advocates say that several accidents have occurred and were not reported, so the statistics are unreliable. What is reliable is the compassion and dedication you will get from an attorney who is accomplished at handling claims against negligent tourist attractions, especially for out-of-state clients.

After you have returned home from your vacation and are focused on recovering from your accident, you do not want the stress or frustration of a legal challenge in another state. Your attorney in Florida can handle that for you. A lawyer who understands the complexities of personal injury and insurance laws can offer you piece of mind as you pursue the compensation you need to hasten your recovery.

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Awards & Memberships

  1. RATED BY Super Lawyers | Clifford C. Higby | SuperLawyers.com Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
  2. AV 1 | PREEMINENT | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence AV Preeminent®AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
  3. RATED BY | Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Kevin D. Barr | SuperLawyers.com Rising Stars, Super Lawyers, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
  4. Florida Justice Association The Florida Justice Association is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Florida's civil justice system and protecting the rights of Florida's citizens and consumers.
  5. The Florida Bar 1950 | Mr. Higby was the former Chairman of the Trial Lawyer’s Section of The Florida Bar The Florida Bar is the integrated bar association for the state of Florida. Its duties include the regulation and discipline of attorneys. Mr. Higby was the former Chairman of the Trial Lawyer’s Section of The Florida Bar.
  6. AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE The American Association for Justice, is a nonprofit advocacy and lobbying organization for plaintiff's lawyers in the United States. AAJ's stated mission is to "promote a fair and effective justice system."
  7. BAR REGISTER PREEMINENT LAWYERS | Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register is widely regarded within the legal profession as a signal honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. The Martindale Hubbell Bar Register has listed lawyers who have earned the respect of the profession.
  8. ABA | AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION The American Bar Association, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which builds the expertise of its members, protects the independence of the legal profession and advocates for justice in the United States and the world.

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Bryant, Higby & Barr - Attorneys At Law

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