Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Vacations can be the greatest of times…or can leave tourists injured or killed. Resorts, cruise ships and hotels present a range of hazards to even the most seasoned travelers. As an experienced resort and vacation injury lawyer, John Leighton has litigated and tried many cases involving injury and death to travelers. In the latest issue of the South Florida Legal Guide, Mr. Leighton published 10 life-saving tips to help avoid a tragic vacation scenario:

Ten Tips to Avoid a Deadly Vacation:

Surviving Resorts, Cruise Ships & Hotels is No Accident

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Yesterday the murderer of our client’s son was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Eric Ellington shot Julian Soler numerous times while in the process of carjacking Julian and his friend Kennia Duran at a gas station. Neither of the young people resisted, but Ellington killed Julian because “he didn’t look scared enough.” An accomplice yet to be tried killed Kennia. 3 years later the killer received his sentence.

We represented Julian’s mother Janine Diaz in a civil negligent security case against the business where the shootings took place. The Soler and Duran families have suffered the worst kind of loss imaginable, and have done so with dignity.

Now that Julian’s killer is going to prison for life, it begs the question: who wins by sending the killer away? One answer is that society does, because someone with so little regard for human life will no longer threaten the safety of the public. Another is that the families who lost their children do because there is some sense of justice. No, it will never bring back these two young people, whose lives were out in front of them. It will never erase the tears of Janine Soler that she has and will continue to shed when she thinks about her son.

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For the first time ever, Florida’s parasailing businesses have to comply with safety regulations.

Florida Statute 327.02 (“Miskell-White Act”) requires commercial parasailing operators to log weather conditions before beginning each parasailing, forbids operations during hazardous weather conditions, and requires operators to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. It also requires minimum liability insurance, which has plagued this industry where fly-by-night operators opened and closed their businesses at will. Previously this was a completely unregulated industry where anyone with a boat, tow rope and parachute could charge money to take people aloft under any conditions.

John Leighton and our client Shannon Kraus (mother of Amber May White) fought tirelessly for seven years to see this law come to fruition. It is a result of almost yearly tragedies that have occurred during parasailing activities in Florida. In 2007, Shannon lost her 15 year-old daughter Amber May White, for which the new law is named. Amber May’s tragedy just foreshadowed years of repetitive injuries and deaths until Florida’s legislature finally took action.

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We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.

in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.

This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride. http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/13/us/florida-disney-monorail-evacuated/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

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Shannon Kraus is a mother on a mission. Seven years after the death of her 15 year-old daughter and a brain injury to her 17 year-old, Shannon has succeeded in getting some measure of parasailing regulation passed in Florida.

Working with her attorney, John Leighton of Leighton Law, P.A., and countless hours of meetings with state and local legislators, plus continued parasailing injuries and deaths each year, the Florida Legislature finally passed a law to regulate parasailing safety:

http://www.actionhub.com/news/2014/06/24/florida-governor-signs-parasailing-bill-law/

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In what can only be characterized as a repeat tragedy in South Florida, 28 year-old Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut was killed while riding a parasail off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday. While her husband watched helplessly from the tandem parasail in which they were strapped, the harness holding Kathleen failed, throwing her 200 feet to the water. Ms. Miskell was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center a short time later.

This tragic death falls almost on the anniversary of the double tragedy involving 15 year-old Amber May White and her 16 year-old sister Crystal in 2007. Amber May was killed and Crystal suffered a severe head injury when the parasail on which they were riding disconnected from its line, throwing them into a building. This too occurred in Pompano Beach.

Mrs. Miskell died while aboard a Wave Blast Water Sports parasailing operation. The ride was operated out of the Sands Hotel in Pompano Beach. This took place by the Hillsboro Inlet.

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Ft Lauderdale beach safety sign.jpgSunbathers beware! The beach seems like the perfect place to kick back, relax, and maybe even take a snooze under the sun. But for some vacationers, being run over by a lifeguard truck can quickly change that relaxing mood.

The latest victim was a school teacher from North Carolina visiting Fort Lauderdale.

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A daycare facility is not exactly a resort, but it also shouldn’t be a place where abuse of 6-year-olds occurs.

On April 2, a lawsuit was filed against Kiddie U., Inc, on behalf of a child who was sexually abused there at age six by an older boy, according to the suit.

The Orlando, Florida daycare facility is accused of negligence, for providing an unsupervised area where the older child had created a concealed area in the form of a “fort” in the gym room, where the abuse allegedly took place, and for misrepresentation, having told the mother that there were cameras in every room.

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As if a shipwreck, a fire, a gunpoint robbery and intestinal viruses weren’t enough for the cruise industry this year, a Central Florida teenager has filed suit against Carnival Corp. in federal court in Miami, alleging a strip search and more by three employees.

The girl says that during a four-day cruise to the Bahamas, she was accused by a security officer of possessing “a bag with ‘green leaves and substance inside'” as reported by the Miami Herald. Subsequently, three Carnival employees questioned the teen, searched her cabin, and examined her genitals. The complaint says the girl and her mother were removed from the ship and the alleged victim was placed in a holding cell in the Bahamas with an adult woman, where she was assaulted.

Carnival released a statement calling the claims “far-fetched” and “patently false, and obviously made in retaliation for the cruise line disembarking the plaintiff and her mother part-way through the voyage in Nassau…”

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Titanic.jpgONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, in April 1912, the legendary RMS Titanic capped off its maiden voyage by colliding with an iceberg and sinking into the Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,500 people were killed and the tragedy was named one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

You’d think that 100 years later, with advances in technological precision that mariners of days past could hardly have dreamed of, cruising would have become a much safer vacation option for tourists, and that preventable cruise ship disasters would be left behind with the bygone era.