Parasailing is one of the most common activities for beachgoers, especially for those who are traveling and looking to try new things.
Parasailing is a recreational kiting activity where participants are towed behind a boat while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that resembles a parachute, known as a parasail wing. The participants are attached to the parachute wing with a harness and the parachute wing is connected to the boat by a tow rope. The parasailing participant is known as a parascender, who has little or no control over the parachute and who receives very little, if any, training. Parasailing venues can be found at local beaches and are also popular shore excursions for cruise ship travelers. While parasailing can be fun and exciting, any parasailing accident lawyer will tell you it is also one of the most dangerous water or beach activities. According to the non-profit organization Parasail Safety Council, as many as five million people go parasailing each year, meaning millions of people are placed at risk for serious or even fatal accidents to take place yearly. Over the past 30 years, more than 1,200 parasailing accidents have resulted in more than 400 serious injuries and more than 70 tragic fatalities. We have successfully handled numerous parasailing accident cases and we are currently handling several high-profile, preventable parasailing injury matters.
What Makes Parasailing a Dangerous Recreational Activity?
The high number of parasailing accidents is partially due to the fact that there are no formal regulations for parasailing in the United States—at the county, state, or federal level. While local areas may have their own rules established, there are no specific stipulations regarding the training of those operating parasailing venues or the safety of the equipment itself. Further, the risks of parasailing increase exponentially when the activity is conducted in less than ideal weather. High winds, rain, or storm conditions can create situations which may be predictable high risk situations that are unknown to unfamiliar parasailing participants. Because most participants are unfamiliar with parasailing risks – such as equipment failures, operational risks (such as operating the tow boat at unsafe speeds or in densely developed areas) – participants become uninformed risk takers whose safety is at the mercy of the ethics of the parasail operator. And the parasail operator may be more motivated with operating as frequently as possible (to earn as much fees as possible) even when the weather or equipment conditions for parasailing are unsafe.
When people decide to go parasailing outside of the United States, whether as part of shore excursions recommended by a cruise line or on their own, the risks are exponentially greater. This is because most countries do not have legal systems that allow accident victims to sue on a contingency basis, and they lack laws that protect and compensate accident victims in a fair manner. This creates an environment where unscrupulous parasailing operators will put profit ahead of safety – a situation which inevitably leads to injuries and deaths.
Why is Parasailing While on Vacation Unsafe?
Many people who go parasailing while on vacation are not experienced parasailers and do not know how to find a safe company to take them or how to independently evaluate the equipment and conditions to determine whether the parasailing operation is reasonably safe. Unfortunately, you cannot necessarily count on the tour operator you choose or the excursion your cruise ship or hotel recommends to be safe. Simply put, cruise lines and hotels are not always as careful as they should be in vetting the companies they recommend to their guests for parasailing services.
What are the Safety Risks Associated with Parasailing?
If a company fails to maintain its parasailing equipment appropriately, or overloads its equipment with too much weight or number of parasailers, or does not provide participants with proper training and instruction, or operates in unsafe weather or locations, many things can go wrong. The parachute wing or harness could fail, a tandem failure could occur, the tow rope may break due to poor maintenance or undue stress caused by high winds, or any of a variety of other types of mechanical failures could take place. A failure of equipment may also result in a parasailing participant being carried in high winds at high speeds into buildings or trees, or suffering falls from heights to hard ground (or to the water from a high altitude which can also be fatal). In many cases, accidents resulting in falls leave victims paralyzed or suffering from other life-altering injuries or, tragically, death.
Due to the number of things that can go wrong, parasailing accidents are very common, especially in South Florida. Factors that commonly cause and contribute to these incidents include:
- Harness Failure
- Parachute Failure
- Tandem Failure
- Tow Line Failure
- Tow Boat Mechanical Failure
- Winch Failure
- Tow Boat Operational Errors
- Weather / Wind Related Accidents
- Operating In Densely Developed Areas
The majority of parasailing accidents are due to equipment failure or lack of operator training. Due to the fact that such accidents typically involve victims falling from great heights, at the very least, victims suffer severe fractures or injuries upon impact with the surface on which they land. However, the results of these accidents are often much more severe than just broken bones. Victims can end up colliding with buildings, trees, or other objects in their paths, causing severe head trauma, internal bleeding, or they may drown when they land at sea.
Several parasailing injuries and fatalities are also the result of faulty support systems. Victims may not be able to free themselves from their equipment, rendering them unable to escape a dangerous situation and leading them to be swept up and away from “safe” areas to eventually land in the ocean, where they lack the ability to remain above the surface and drown – or they suffer severe injuries upon impact with hard objects. If you or a loved one were injured, turn to a parasailing accident lawyer at our firm for assistance right away. Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. has been helping victims of accidents at sea since 1971, and our lawyers will work diligently to ensure you and your loved ones obtain compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
What Are Your Rights if You Get Hurt While Parasailing?
If you get hurt while parasailing on vacation, you may be able to make a claim against the parasailing company or against the cruise line or hotel that organized the parasailing excursion or even a hotel concierge desk that referred you to a parasailing operator. You can often pursue a claim even if you signed a waiver or release of liability, so do not assume that signing a waiver means you have given up all rights to recover for catastrophic or fatal injury. Even if your parasailing incident happened outside of the United States, an experienced parasailing accident lawyer is likely able to help you.
At Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., our parasailing accident lawyer can assist you in identifying whether you have a claim, and we can pursue a claim for damages on your behalf if negligence or an equipment failure caused or contributed to your (or your loved one’s) parasailing accident.
If the parasailing accident occurred in another country while you were on a cruise, your case could be much more complicated than it otherwise would be had your accident occurred in the United States. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling accident claims against cruise lines, excursion companies, and tour operators around the world, and we can use this experience to make sure you and your family receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Why Should You Choose a Parasailing Accident Lawyer from Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. to Handle Your Claim?
If you have been seriously injured or your child, spouse or parent has been seriously injured or killed in a parasailing accident, you need to make sure you choose a law firm that is capable of recovering maximum compensation for your losses.
Here are five reasons to choose a parasailing accident lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A.:
1. We are America’s Leading Maritime and Admiralty Law Firm
With decades of experience representing victims and families in cases involving accidents at sea, we have earned a reputation as America’s leading maritime and admiralty law firm. We have been ranked about America’s Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report five years running, and we have been named the Top Law Firm for Protecting Seafarer’s Rights by the International Seafarers Union.
2. Our Lawyers are Recognized as Among the Best in America
In addition to our recognition at the firm level, several of our lawyers have been recognized as leaders in admiralty and maritime law as well. This includes firm founder Charles R. Lipcon, who was selected as Lawyer of the Year in Admiralty and Maritime Law by Best Lawyers in 2020.
3. Our Lawyers Regularly Appear on TV (Not in Commercials)
Our lawyers regularly appear on television, but not in commercials trying to convince accident victims to call, instead our attorneys are the go to resource for all of the major media outlets nationally and internationally. Attorney Michael Winkleman has appeared more than 100 times on all of the major news shows to comment on Maritime law, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, Inside Edition, CBS This Morning and CNN Headline News.
4. Our Practice is Devoted Exclusively to Maritime and Admiralty Accident Claims
Unlike other firms that handle many different types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, our practice is devoted exclusively to handling maritime claims. This includes all claims at sea as well as those nearshore and offshore such as parasailing. . It is this focus that has allowed our attorneys to become leaders in the field, and it is the reason why we have been able to successfully recover hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients.
5. We Have a Long History of Success in Serious and Fatal Accident Cases
Over the past 40+ years, we have helped clients in Florida and across the United States recover just compensation for injuries and deaths resulting from parasailing accidents and other disasters. This includes numerous multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts secured on behalf of accident victims and their families.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Parasailing Accident Lawsuits
What kind of damages can I collect if I’m injured while parasailing?
With any injury lawsuit, our attorneys will pursue damages for monetary losses, such as your medical expenses and lost wages, and for intangible costs, such as loss of physical or mental capacity resulting from the accident and pain and suffering. In wrongful death cases, we are able to pursue damages for the victim’s future earnings as well as loss of companionship. When it’s warranted and the legal jurisdiction allows, we will pursue punitive damages. This can result in a substantial settlement request.
Do I have to pay for an attorney out of pocket?
No. The attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. work on a contingency basis. We collect our fees either when we settle a case or our client’s receive a court award. Contingency fees are regulated by the jurisdiction where the suit occurs. You will always be provided with that information before committing to our firm.
What are the chances my parasailing accident case will go to court?
This depends on a number of factors: the amount of the insurers’ original offer, the extent of your injuries, the speed of the civil courts in the jurisdiction in which you were injured. Generally speaking, most parasailing personal injury cases are settled before they reach trial.
What if I signed a waiver of liability as a condition of renting the parasailing equipment?
This does not necessarily negate your ability to pursue damages against the responsible parties. A waiver of liability does not absolve the defendant of all responsibility. You should contact our parasailing accident lawyers to review your case and together we will determine the viability of your lawsuit.
What if the insurance company offers me a fair settlement?
When you’re injured in a parasailing accident, you may be approached by a claims adjustor for the company or their insurer. They may offer to pay all of your medical bills and some additional money for your inconvenience. In exchange, they will require you to sign a waiver of liability prior to payment. This will negate your legal right to pursue additional damages via a lawsuit. Do not accept a settlement offer without contacting our injury law office. In almost all cases, the initial settlement offer is far less than you would receive with a team of experienced parasailing accident lawyers on your side. All consultations are free, so there is no risk in speaking with one of our attorneys first.
Contact an Experienced Parasailing Accident Lawyer Today
If you were seriously injured or a member of your family was killed in a parasailing accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence or an equipment failure, our lawyers will do everything possible to recover just compensation on your behalf. When you choose Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., you can feel confident knowing that you are represented by a team of highly-experienced maritime lawyers who have your best interests in mind and who will stop at nothing to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
To learn more about your legal rights after a parasailing accident in Florida or during a cruise excursion, contact us now to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 877-233-1238 or submit your case online and get started on the road to recovery today.