South Florida has been one of the major locations for recreational boating for decades. There is some debate about who actually coined the phrase “Venice of America” for Fort Lauderdale, but with 165 miles of waterway, it certainly is appropriate.
Boating is a year-round passion in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, with a combined 165,000 recreational vessels registered. When Spring Break rolls around, that’s usually one of the busiest times for traffic offshore and on the inland waterways. Not unexpectedly, accidents increase.
The dictionary defines the word “visit” as “an act of going or coming to see a person or place socially, as a tourist, or for some other purpose.” Most visits are pleasant experiences, right?
The U.S. Center for Disease Control, which works to keep us healthy also keeps track of injury statistics. They call going to the emergency room a “visit” but there’s not too much pleasant about being treated at the emergency room. Those are visits we can live without.
Some of the types of injuries and statistics for emergency room visits are surprising, but understanding them might help us and our loved ones avoid visits to the ER. Sometimes injuries are our own fault and sometimes they are due to someone else’s – that’s when a personal injury attorney can help.
Let’s look at some numbers:
Nationwide, in 2011 there were 136.3 million ER visits. 40.2 million were related to injuries. The rate of people visiting the ER was 44 per 100 people, so if you’re an average person, you had slightly less than a 50% chance of going to the ER.
In Florida, the reasons for going to the ER are interesting.
The number one cause for going to the ER – non-fatal injury – is listed as “fall.” Now, a large number of these incidents are in the upper-age segment of the population for obvious reasons, but it is also number one for ages 10-14, probably skateboard and bicycle mishaps.
The number two reason for going to the ER in Florida across all age groups is “struck by.” Struck by? What is struck by? Some research shows that people are struck by many things including Struck By: car, truck, bus, train, boat, golf cart, golf club, forklift, crane, mobile platform, bicycle, tire, flying piece of X, garage door, door opening, rock, another person, mail carrier, farm equipment, falling objects, motorcycle, stock items, batted ball, lawn mower, scaffolding, pressurized hose, hammer head, etc…..
So, it’s probably a good idea to avoid everything on that list. You’d have to stay home under the bed.
Number three is motor vehicle accidents, which we write about often. Wear your seat belts, slow down, don’t text and drive, and never, ever drive if you have been drinking.
Number four is interesting but not surprising in Florida: over-exertion. The heat and humidity can wear you down and wear you out fast if you’re working or exercising above your tolerance. Always see a physician before starting a work-out regimen and stay hydrated. Take regular breaks of you’re working outside in the heat and when you feel that something hurts, stop.
Many visits to the ER can be prevented by exercising good judgement, but sometimes you can’t prevent an injury because they are often caused by someone else’s negligence. Some of the more common injuries resulting from negligence are falls due to unsafe conditions, being struck by unsecured objects, defective products, and assaults by other persons.
If you slip due to a puddle on the floor and you are injured, this is not necessarily a clear-cut “slip and fall” injury. There are legal issues such as duty of care, premises liability, security precautions, and a host of other circumstances to consider in any injury situation.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been advising and helping victims of injuries in south Florida for over 20 years. Gary and Arleen Lazarus are eminently qualified personal injury attorneys who will listen to the circumstances of your injury and discuss options which may help you receive any compensation that is appropriate under the law. You can reach the firm by calling 954-356-0006.
If you have visited the beach near Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday afternoon-evening, you have probably noticed the steady stream of cruise ships as they parade out to sea. One-after-another they go, destined for cruise journeys ranging from a few nights to a few weeks.
There are More Ships and Passengers Sailing from South Florida than Anywhere Else on Earth
When you consider the amount of food, liquor, and other supplies on board each ship it is staggering to imagine what a boom it is for the local economy. The Sun-Sentinel recently reported that a single day record for passengers leaving and arriving at Port Everglades in one day was set on December 20, 2015: 53,485!
South Florida is part of the Caribbean/Bahamas region, and you can see that no other area comes close in terms of market share:
Europe w/o Med 8%
Australia/New Zealand/S. Pac 1%
South America 4%
Other Programs 5%
Going on a cruise is usually a wonderful experience, with more sun, fun, and food than most people could ever hope to experience on dry land. But there are issues regarding safety and liability which must be known about before setting out into international waters.
I recall a friend telling me that when he enlisted the U.S. Navy he was informed immediately after being sworn in “You are now under the authority of the Uniform Code of Military Justice” and my friend said he was a bit concerned because he felt he had waived his rights under the U.S. Constitution and was now “doomed!” In a way, he had waived those rights.
Similarly, any traveler who embarks on a cruise ship is playing under a new set of rules. Maritime Law is not like U.S. Law, and incidents occurring on board a vessel at sea are not covered by the same rights and privileges a U.S. citizen can count on here at home.
For example, if an accident occurs as a result of negligence by a cruise line company or an employee of a cruise line it will not be easy to document and pursue compensation for injuries including medical expenses, pain and suffering.
Some of the calamities discussed in a New York Times article about cruise ship on-board events include: adrift at sea, running aground, fires, viruses, overflowing toilets, and finally, sinking. Not exactly sun and fun stuff.
Cruise ships operate under the stress of what’s known as a rigid financial bottom line. They must transport as many passengers as possible in a very competitive market, keeping the fares low and the quality as high as they can. Sometimes corners are cut, and passengers suffer the consequences.
Only a handful of attorneys have dedicated their practice to include the complex area of Maritime Law, and in Fort Lauderdale one such firm is Lazarus and Lazarus. For over 20 years Gary and Arleen Lazarus have represented passengers who suffered losses and/or injuries due to the negligence of cruise ship companies. You may reach the firm by calling 954-356-0006 and asking for a free initial consultation. All information exchanged with the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is completely confidential.
Gary T. Lazarus was born in Queens, New York, on August 26, 1965. He received his Bachelor of Science from St. John's University in 1987 and received his Juris Doctorate from Nova Law School in 1990. In 1992, Gary founded this Personal Injury Firm, dedicated to the representation of persons injured due to the negligence of another.