Both residents and visitors love Panama City for its beautiful weather, its wealth of natural resources, and the abundance of opportunities to enjoy both. While it is not an activity for the faint of heart, parasailing can offer some of the most awe-inspiring views of our region. Enthusiasts hail the activity as tranquil and serene, suggesting it feels like floating in the air. Sadly, however, parasailing accidents are a very real danger.
Our Panama City parasailing injury lawyer supports efforts to make parasailing as safe as possible, including appropriate legislation that requires companies to engage in safe practices. When a company engages in unsafe practices that lead to a parasailing injury, we are also here to help the injured recover compensation from those at fault.
A bill that would regulate the parasailing industry in Florida is continuing to makes its way through the legislature, according to a report from WJHG. At one point last week it looked like the bill might be dead, but it emerged from the House Regulatory Affairs Committee with some new additions. The original bill would require parasailing companies to carry a set minimum level of insurance, would prohibit parasailing in certain weather conditions, and require commercial parasailing operations to keep a weather log.
A last-minute amendment expanded the bill's reach with regulations on tethered ballooning and kite boarding, additions praised by Representative Matt Gaetz as providing consumer protections in a wider array of sports. The Committee initially vetoed the bill but it was revived and passed with the amendments in place.
As WJHG noted, the bill follows several parasailing accidents. One of the worst accidents happened in Panama City during July 2013 when a tow rope snapped, causing the two 17-year-olds to slam into a condo building. The accident occurred as a storm front was passing through the area. Attorney Pittman is representing the family of one of the critically injured riders in their suit against the operator, rope manufacturer, and the association that hosted the parasailing operation. He is quoted in the article, noting that some operators are not happy with the bill's added requirements, but he believed most people support the proposed regulations.
While the state struggles, industry representatives are also looking at the safety question. At the Parasail Operator's Symposium (the 4th yearly event), over 200 attendees used a consensus-based process to work on a set of National Safety Standards. Four leaders also emerged from the meeting who will chair a committee looking at worldwide standards for parasailing safety. We applaud the industry effort and are curious to see how their product differs from proposals that emerge from outside the industry.
Well-drafted safety regulations can save lives. Regulations can even help after an accident because being able to point to a violated regulation can help the plaintiff succeed in a civil injury suit. To be clear, a violated regulation does not mean a company will automatically be found at fault, nor does the absence of a regulation (or the fact that a regulation was obeyed) bar liability. Most parasail accident cases ultimately come down to a basic question of negligence, such as whether a company was negligent in allowing a customer to parasail in high wind conditions. Notably, some parasail accidents may involve a strict liability theory, particularly if the allegation includes a product defect.
Attorney Pittman is a strong advocate for safety. He is also an advocate for the injured and grieving, with specific experience as an attorney for Panama City parasail accident victims. Call to arrange a free consultation.