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Articles Tagged with “Key West Lawyers”

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This week, a tragic parasailing incident took the life of 36-year-old Nicholas Hayward and critically injured 28-year-old Azalea Silva. This is a very sad reminder that Florida laws regulating – or attempting to regulate – the parasailing industry are still utterly inadequate and do not protect life. A very similar case was handled by Leesfield Scolaro in 2007, which resulted in the passage of the very first law of its kind in the state of Florida. Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro have been at the forefront of this issue, and it is time for reform.

The Miami Herald has reported on the latest incident that the commercial boat used to launch tourists up their parasail was operated by Sunset Watersports. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which investigates all boating accidents, has already stated that “severe weather [was] a contributing factor with this boating accident.” The spokesman for FWC, Officer Bobby Dube, described to reporters that the boat was operating in the middle of “harsh weather” when the incident occurred at around noon. Dube added that the incident took place as the duo began their ascent, they apparently fell very quickly and crashed in the water.

Regulation of the Florida parasailing industry is very light. The Amber May Law came into effect on October 1, 2014. It was named after Amber May, a young teenager who perished in a similar parasailing incident in 2007 in Broward County. Amber and her younger sister were also sent in the air as a duo in the middle of severe weather. Neither the small boat nor the rope could resist the high winds, and ultimately the rope snapped. The girls were catapulted against nearby buildings and hotels.  Crystal, Amber May’s sister, lost her best friend and sustained a traumatic brain injury in an incident that was 100% preventable.  Leesfield Scolaro filed suit against multiple defendants immediately and secured a settlement on behalf of the family.

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-Cases Resolved in Key West and Monroe County on a rapid increase.

In our 40-year practice in Key West and Monroe County, we have seen the trend for serious and unnecessary injuries and deaths increase for a number of reasons.  First, the number of visitors from the United States and abroad to Key West/Monroe County has now topped three million per year.   Moreover, poorly maintained streets, bicycle and moped activities and heavy selling of water sports have contributed greatly to this trend.   Key West is now much more than visiting the Ernest Hemingway House or the Truman Little White House.  We now see cases where children’s hands have been attacked by sharks in the tank, serious boating and jet ski accidents.  Inexperienced excursion guides with a  lack of supervision are major culprits in this recent increase.  All along Duval Street, local vendors are selling snorkeling trips, diving tours, parasailing tours, boating, jet ski, bicycle  and moped rentals.   After the purchase, the unknowing, entrapped, unsuspicious visitor is then poorly supervised or instructed.   There are no directions on how to use land based or aquatic equipment.   Representative results from this category of neglect includes:

∙    Family involved in a jet ski/boat collision awarded $1 million.

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It almost invariably happens the same way for many people who travel the roads of Monroe County, and Key West in particular. You are driving on Flagler Avenue, or Truman Avenue, or North Roosevelt Boulevard, when, out of nowhere, a distracted driver crashes into your car.

Invariably, the at-fault driver who caused the accident will exit his vehicle and offer an apology while asking if you and everyone in your car is ok. An officer from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will respond to the scene, listen to all parties involved and will issue a citation to the negligent driver. If you are hurt in the incident, the severity of your injuries will dictate how your personal injury claim will be handled. The magnitude of your injuries is the only variable in this scenario.

A victim of a traffic accident caused by a third-party in Florida has one out of four chances the negligent driver does not have insurance (nearly 24 percent of all drivers in Florida don’t have insurance, according to the nonprofit Insurance Research Council.)

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