Recreational activities such as boating, swimming, and parasailing are very popular in Florida. The mild weather allows for fun outdoor pursuits year-round and many recreational activities also appeal to tourists. Unfortunately, the number of recreational options does mean that accidents can and do take place. Each year, for example, Florida sees a number of boating accidents in Miami and across the state. In addition, amusement park injuries in Miami as well as cruise ship injuries do occur each year.
In recent years, a number of parasailing injuries have also drawn national attention. Parasailing involves attaching people to a motor boat with a tow rope. A parachute is worn, so that when the boat reaches speed, the person is lifted into the air.
The parasailing industry in the state has not been regulated and some injured plaintiffs have argued that this has contributed to injuries. Some parasailing enthusiasts have suffered fractures, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries in Miami and other communities.
Recently, a bill sponsored by Sen. Maria Sachs was approved by a Senate community to provide some rules for the industry. The new rules would require parasailing companies to have at least $1 million insurance, as well as licenses (to be issued by the U.S. Coast Guard) and specific equipment. The new rules would also require the companies to suspend operations in certain dangerous weather conditions. For example, if there are wind gusts of over 20 mph or lightning storms, operators will not be able to head out.
The new legislation acknowledges that a lot can go wrong when parasailing companies are negligent. People can slam into solid objects or even buildings. They can become tangled in the parachute or in power lines. In some cases, the tow lines can snap, sending victims careening at high speeds over a considerable distance. The parasail harness can also break, which can cause falls. Two previous attempts were made to pass laws to regulate the parasailing industry, but those failed to pass. Sen. Maria Sachs is hopeful that the new measure will eventually be signed into law.
Many parasailing companies are conscientious about safety and take all due safety precautions, but supporters of the current bill say that legislation is needed to make sure that all companies in the industry take steps to keep customers safe. Not everyone in the parasailing industry supports the new bills. However, many agencies and groups do support the proposed laws, including: the Parasail Safety Council, Water Sports Industry Association, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Many personal injury attorneys in Miami and across Florida also support the measure.
Have you or a loved one been injured by a tour boat operator, parasailing company, amusement park ride, or other recreational option in South Florida? Before you accept any insurance money or any settlement, it is important to get legal advice. If your injuries are serious, you could end up paying medical costs and related expenses for the rest of your life. To protect yourself, speak to a personal injury attorney first. You can always contact Flaxman Law Group to arrange a free, confidential consultation if you would like legal advice from a full-service law firm. We would be happy to evaluate your options with you.