Personal Injury – Tourist Representation

Xiao Ma and Jinghui Hou v. Coastal Parasail, Inc. d/b/a Coastal Parasail and Zachary Thacker

Bay County Case #: 15-1343-CA
Federal Court Case #: 5:15-VV-00326-MCR-GRJ

While on vacation in Panama City Beach, Florida, College Professors Xiao Ma and Jinghui Hou decided to participate in a dolphin tour WaveRunner excursion offered by Defendant, Coastal Parasail. Neither Professor Ma nor Professor Hou had ever operated a WaverRunner prior to the dolphin tour and had no prior experience navigating the local waterways. Coastal Parasail employee, Zachary Thacker was chosen by his employer to be the tour guide for the excursion. Mr. Thacker led the tour patrons through the Grand Lagoon Channel, a perilous area where numerous boating accidents have occurred over the last few years. While riding through this area, Professor Ma lost control of the WaveRunner that he and Professor Hou were riding and crashed into a sport fishing vessel elevated on a lift at the end of a dock. Professor Ma and Professor Hou suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the collision. Mr. Higby and Mr. Barr argued that Coastal Parasail was negligent in renting the dangerous WaveRunner to novice operators such as Professor Ma and Professor Hou. Additionally, Mr. Higby and Mr. Barr argued that Coastal Parasail and Thacker were negligent in failing to train Professor Ma and Professor Hou as to the dangers of the WaveRunner and the local waterways. Pursuant to Admiralty law, Coastal filed a Petition for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida attempting to limit damages to the value of the WaveRunner involved in the collision. Mr. Higby and Mr. Barr retained one of the foremost boating safety experts in Florida, and filed a Claim and Answer in the Federal case. Within two weeks of filing a Claim and Answer, the case settled for a confidential amount. Professor Ma and Professor Hou’s health provider liens were all satisfactorily resolved.

Carol Cabral v. James Bramburg


Carol Cabral suffered a very serious compression fracture of her spine when the boat she was traveling on unexpectedly struck a wave on the Apalachicola River. Ms. Cabral retained Mr. Higby to represent her in a claim filed against the boat owner’s insurance carrier. Through an early investigation, Mr. Higby discovered that the driver of the boat was distracted and looking at a cell phone when the boat unexpectedly struck the wave. Mr. Higby retained one of the foremost boating safety experts in Florida, and other medical experts and was able to get the claim resolved for the policy limits of $250,000.000. Mr. Higby was also successful in vastly reducing Ms. Cabral’s medical lien, which was governed by Georgia law.

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