Snowbirds and Florida – Staying Safe on Vacation

Florida is the number one vacation destination in the country. Our beautiful beaches and hundreds of resorts, entertainment centers, and amusement parks draw people from all over the country and the world. And when it’s colder in northern climates, the snowbirds flock south to Florida’s beautiful climate. 

The increased population, traffic, and activities do increase the risk of injury, however. As a native Floridian and a personal injury lawyer, I encourage all visitors to take precautions so that their vacation is not marred by injury.

Vehicle accidents

More cars on the road mean more accidents. This is especially true around tourist attractions. Vehicle accidents cover a variety of vehicles: one’s own car, a rental car, Uber or Lyft, or motorcycle. Unfortunately, there are also many pedestrians and bicyclists hit by other vehicles, causing serious injury. 

Accidents may be caused by:

  • Distracted drivers looking at the GPS or road signs, or eating, talking on the phone, or texting while driving
  • Seniors who may not be as proficient in driving as they were when younger, or foreign drivers who are unfamiliar with our road rules
  • Poorly maintained roads – potholes and sinkholes, uneven lanes, loose gravel or debris, especially after a storm
  • Road obstructions (ex. pieces of tire on the road, debris, animal carcass) and insufficient merging lanes
  • Poor signage, or poor visibility from overgrown plants, signs, or weather

Take extra precautions while driving or while riding in a taxi/Uber/Lyft vehicle to decrease your risk of injury or accident due to any of these causes. 

Outdoor activity injuries

The opportunities for outdoor activities in Florida are seemingly endless. Some are by nature safe and some are intrinsically dangerous. Operators of outdoor activities and equipment renters have a duty to take all precautions to keep their patrons and those around the activities safe. A complete list of activities is impossible, but some to take special precautions when engaging in include:

  • Watersports
  • Off-road vehicle sports
  • Hang-gliding and parachute-jumping
  • Bungee-jumping and cliff jumping
  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking in treacherous terrain
  • Touring the Everglades

When renting equipment such as bikes, scooters, beach items, and other seemingly safe items, be sure to rent from reputable sources and check the items to make sure there is no obvious malfunction before you use them. 

Resort, park, and entertainment venue injuries

Amusement park injuries can occur from ride malfunctions, dangerous conditions that could cause slip-and-fall injuries, poorly maintained grounds and equipment, food poisoning, and injuries in poorly managed crowds. Pool injuries can also occur for many of these same reasons, along with an insufficient number of lifeguards. Stay close to lifeguard stations when swimming in an unfamiliar pool, lake, or other water feature. 

Crowd injuries can happen at music venues and other areas where people stand to watch a performance or event. Sudden crowd surges can cause devastating injuries or death, as we saw at the 2021 Travis Scott concert at Astroworld in Houston. If you are in a crowd, stay out of the middle and close to an exit. 

Animal injuries

Dangerous animal bites can occur in any state, dog bites being the most common. But in the lower states, we also have to warn against alligators. Alligator injuries are extremely rare, but they can happen. Stay away from bodies of water where alligators are known to live, keep small children always under supervision, and take precautions when visiting the Everglades. 

Hotel and rental property injuries

Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe environments. Slip and falls, broken bones, electrical shocks, or other injuries could be caused by faulty wiring, poor lighting, wet spots, poor signage, or unsafe equipment. Sexual assault, mugging, or other physical attacks can occur where there is insufficient security or lighting. Avoid dark areas or hotels that do not look well maintained. 

What to do if injured

Seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait until you get back to your home state. Not only will your prognosis be better if you receive prompt medical care, but you will also legally establish that the injury happened in Florida, not on your way home or at home. Take pictures of the accident situation if you can, and if possible, get eyewitness testimony.

The statute of limitations for personal injury against an individual or non-governmental organization in Florida is 4 years; against a governmental body is 3 years; for wrongful death, the statute of limitations is 2 years. But I encourage you to not wait to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who is an expert in the field of personal injury. Evidence can disappear and memories fade. Taking action soon after the event is usually the best approach. 

Florida is a beautiful and exciting vacation destination, and millions of people safely visit every year, creating lifelong, wonderful memories. So don’t hesitate to come to Florida for your vacation. However, if you have an unfortunate accident while in Florida, whether you live here or are visiting, and you believe another party’s negligence caused the injury, you have a right to pursue compensation. I am committed to making sure you get the compensation you need. Call me at (954) 448-7288, 24/7 for a free consultation.

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