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South Florida Tourism Injuries Abound

NFL footballer Donte Stallworth and his girlfriend were involved in a scary accident recently when the hot air balloon in which they were traveling crashed into a string of power lines in South Florida.

Our Vero Beach injury lawyers understand that while the pair suffered some burns, they are expected to make a full recovery.

While the incident is being investigated by both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, it’s a good opportunity to point out that this is one of the many ways in which tourists risk injury when they vacation in Florida.

Many operators in this state follow the appropriate safety standards, properly maintain their equipment and provide the necessary training to personnel and patrons. Some don’t. Tragedies do happen.

Jet skis in particular have a well-deserved reputation for danger.

One spring afternoon two years ago, rapper Sean Kingston and a passenger were critically injured after crashing a jet ski into a Miami bridge. Injuries included a torn aorta, fractured wrists, water in the lungs and a broken jaw. The crash was determined to be caused by operator inexperience and carelessness.

Then last summer, singer Usher’s 11-year-old stepson was rendered brain-dead and later died after being struck by a jet ski while he sat in an inner tube in Lake Lanier outside of Atlanta.

The National Association of Rescue Divers recommends the following to ensure safety with regard to jet ski use:
–Take at least one lesson on usage to ensure you understand the controls and features;
–Wear the proper safety equipment – eye wear, tennis or deck shoes, life jacket, etc.;
–Keep the safety lanyard attached to you;
–Stay way from wildlife and swimming areas;
–Never operate a jet ski at night;
–Passengers under 18 should wear a helmet;
–Don’t operate the jet ski if you’ve been drinking.

Another popular tourist activity in Florida is parasailing. Millions of vacationers do it safely every year. However a few years ago, two teen sisters on vacation in Pompano Beach were in the air, tethered to a speed boat. The weather suddenly turned, and despite the girl’s cries to be brought down, the boat kept going. The tow line snapped. The wind caught the chute with the girls attached. They were flung into the roof of a nearby hotel. One of them died. Another suffered permanent brain damage.

That is not an accident. That’s negligence. For a number of reasons, it should never have happened.

There are few governmental inspections or regulations for parasailing equipment, so patrons should take the time to research operators. Florida has roughly 240 statewide.

Before heading out, ask the following questions:
–How long as the company been in business?
–Is the company licensed?
–Does it exist in a well-established location?
–Is the boat captain a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain?
–Is the current weather safe for sailing?

Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Donte’ Stallworth injured in hot air balloon accident, March 16, 2013, By Marc Sessler, NFL

More Blog Entries:
Beach Accidents in Fort Lauderdale and Elsewhere Likely during Summer, May 17, 2012, Vero Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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