It's an activity on many people's bucket list, and it’s one that can be checked off while living in or visiting our region. Scuba affords the diver a peek into a world that is hidden from everyday view. Certain dives are open to beginners, but divers looking for a true scuba experience must undergo training and earn a certification. Despite this emphasis on training and education, diving remains risky, and scuba injuries and deaths are all too common. When these accidents occur in Northwest Florida and are due to faulty equipment or a negligent operating company, our Panama City scuba accident attorney can help.
A report by the Jackson County Floridian focuses on an accident that left a visitor to our region in critical condition. The victim is a 38-year-old Czechoslovakian man currently living in Chicago who had been diving with a second man, a visitor from Minnesota, at Blue Springs Recreation Area in Marianna. According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the men, believed to be experienced divers who had been diving in the area for 3 days prior, began Monday's cave dive around 10:30 A.M. About 50 minutes into the dive, the Chicago man made a distress signal, and his partner helped him get out of the water. At this time, the victim became unresponsive, and when they surfaced he appeared to be spitting out blood.
The victim, who remains unidentified until his family can be notified, was taken by helicopter to a Tallahassee hospital. Other reports confirm he was eventually moved to a Georgia facility where they have a decompression chamber. He remains in critical condition.
This is not the first serious scuba incident to occur in Florida in recent months. On October 9, as detailed by WFTV in Orlando, Samuel Slack (36, New Smyrna Beach) was killed in a dive in Orange City. Slack had been at a depth of 80 feet when he motioned to his dive partner, Daniel Vansickle (37, New Smyrna Beach) that he had no air. Vansickle, a diver with 3 years' experience, began to give Slack air from his own regulator, but said he had to stop doing so because Slack would not release/return the mouthpiece.
After surfacing, Vansickle called for help before diving back down and activating a buoyancy compensator that helped Slack surface. Vansickle, a bystander, and rescue crews gave aid, but they were unable to save him. Emergency responders also took Vansickle to Florida Hospital Orlando for treatment. Investigators were continuing their investigations as of the time of the report.
Studies suggest that 100 people in the U.S. die each year in scuba accidents. Many more suffer injuries, including severe, life-altering injuries such as brain damage. Diving accidents can have a number of causes. Injured divers (or the families of those involved in fatal incidents) may have legal claims stemming from defective equipment, negligent dive operators, or inadequate training. Diver error is a common cause, but the error may actually be secondary to another problem which may be grounds for a lawsuit. If a claim is successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover past and future medical costs, lost wages, money for pain and suffering, and more.
Call our Panama City diving injury lawyer to discuss your accident and your legal rights. An initial consultation is always free.