Most of us eagerly anticipate our vacation, whether it’s a “staycation” or a trip across time zones. The Sunshine State welcomes more than 110 million visitors every year, drawn to the beaches, resorts, hotels, amusement parks and campgrounds. These travelers – both domestic and international – spend billions on travel, lodging, dining and adventures. Businesses benefit greatly from this steady influx, but with this comes an important responsibility: To keep patrons reasonably safe from unforeseeable harms.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our Fort Myers injury attorneys know the unique challenges travelers and tourists face following a vacation accident. In most cases, you’ll need to work with an attorney in the state – and probably region – where you were injured to bring a legal case in state court.
The reason is because statutes and case law precedent in Florida may not be the same as the statutes in your home state or country. You need an attorney who understands state law and is familiar with local judges, juries and courts. If a serious problem arises, a local attorney with a history of proven success and extensive experience will give you the advantage.Why Travelers Are at Risk for Injury
According to the World Health Organization, injuries are the No. 1 cause of preventable death among travelers. Approximately 18 to 24 percent of deaths among travelers in foreign countries are caused by injuries, compared with just 2 percent of deaths caused by infectious diseases.
Some of the reasons travelers may be at high risk include:
- Venturing into risky or unfamiliar environments;
- Differences in language and communication;
- Variations on product safety and vehicle safety standards;
- Unfamiliar rules and regulation;
- Carefree vacation spirit can lead to more risk-taking.
This is not to say travelers are solely – or even mostly – responsible when Florida vacation accidents happen. In fact, many such injuries are caused by negligence of property owners, who fail to secure their premises, check for hazards or fix/ warn about them. It should be noted that even when travelers are partially responsible for their own injuries, Florida’s comparative fault law, F.S. 768.81, does not prohibit those partially responsible from collecting damages. It will reduce the amount of obtainable damages by plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Still, even one who is 99 percent at fault could still theoretically collect on the remaining 1 percent of damages.
Although most travelers injured or killed on vacation are victims of motor vehicle crashes, 21 percent were victims of homicide and another 13 percent were victims of drowning.
We understand that when you are seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a vacation accident, you want and need the comfort of home and your family as you work toward recovery. Our goal is to allow you to do this, while still aggressively pursuing compensation for the negligence that caused your injuries.Water and Aquatic Injuries on Vacation
For many vacationers in Florida, being on or near the water is a significant draw. But it’s also a significant source of unintentional injury and death.
In the ocean, there is the risk of rip currents and sea creatures.
In both natural bodies of water as well as swimming pools, there is a risk of:
Head and spinal cord injuries due to diving in shallow water (often in pools that are not properly marked for depth or in bodies of water that are deceptively shallow).
Lack of lifeguards on duty.
Electric shock, caused by wires, pool equipment, nearby vessels or lightening can cause an electrical current to run through the water. Saltwater can be an especially hazardous.
Slip-and-fall on pool decks, boardwalks and other walkways near water.
Scuba diving and snorkeling injuries. Travelers who are not experienced divers or who aren’t diving with reliable dive shops with experienced instructors may be especially at risk.
Child drowning due to failure to secure pool or water with gates, fence, pool cover or alarms.
Disease, illness or infection, such as legionnaire’s disease, caused by failure to adequately clean and disinfect the pool or ensure it has the right chemical balance.
Very few of these dangers are true “accidents,” because they involve foreseeable harm – one that a property owner knew of or should have known about, and yet failed to address or warn about.
Premises liability law in Florida holds that property owners owe the highest duty of care to business invitees, who are paying customers on site for the financial gain of the property owner/ manager. Those who fail in this duty, causing injury, can and should be held liable for that negligence.
If you or a loved one is injured in a Southwest Florida vacation accident, our dedicated injury lawyers in Fort Myers can help.
800-646-1210 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice