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Florida beachgoer impaled by umbrella adds new fear for sunbathers. What dangers should you be on the lookout for this summer?

When sunscreen is applied and the sound of crashing waves lulls linen-clad beachgoers into placidity, the last thing they want to think about is the potential for hazards. 

But, as recent Florida headlines have shown, there are numerous dangers to be wary of, even in paradise.  

Reports of an umbrella striking an 85-year-old woman, going straight through her leg, Saturday on Coco Beach have flooded recent news feeds. The woman was sitting on a beach when a nearby rental umbrella flew free from its restraints and hit her, according to reporting from The Miami Herald. First responders cut the umbrella’s canopy to make the injury “less” painful for the woman before she was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

The incident, while something of a legend, is not entirely uncommon. 

In 2023, two people enjoying the day on Clearwater Beach were sent to the hospital after sudden winds dislodged nearby umbrellas that hit them. A woman in South Carolina was killed in 2022 after an umbrella struck her in the torso.  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission pits annual umbrella-related injuries at 3,000, according to the latest available data. To prevent beach umbrellas from turning into wayward projectiles, it is recommended to bury them at least 16 inches deep in the sand and to weigh them down. The American Society for Testing and Materials updated its recommendation for beachgoers to use at least 75 pounds of sand to weigh down an umbrella. 

The flurry of headlines comes less than a week after Florida rip currents ensnared swimmers in the state’s panhandle, killing at least five people in four days. All five swimmers – a woman from Missouri, three Alabama men, and a man from Oklahoma – were tourists, according to reporting from local news outlets. The recent deaths prompted local officials to release statements on water safety, urging people not to enter the water. 

On Hutchinson Island, just two hours from Miami, where the Leesfield & Partners office is located, a Pennsylvania couple and two of their six children were swimming when they were swept into a rip current. The children tried to help their parents, according to local reporting, but couldn’t. The mother and father were taken to a nearby hospital but could not be saved. 

Approximately 25 people drowned after getting caught in a rip current in 2023, according to data from the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. The Florida panhandle is responsible for the most rip current deaths in the United States.

Past Cases

From slip and falls in vacation rentals, cruise ship injuries, drownings due to negligent pool fences, and unsecured umbrellas, Leesfield & Partners attorneys have represented clients and their loved ones, guiding them through the legal system after a harrowing ordeal. One look at the law firm’s cases and verdicts clearly shows that tragedy and injury do not discriminate and can strike at a moment’s notice. 

One such incidence involves that of a Leesfield & Partner client who was sitting at a Florida hotel’s outdoor patio space when he was suddenly assaulted by a wayward umbrella. The umbrella, which came from a nearby table and was not secured down, smacked him in the left eye and temple. The man was rendered unconscious from the hit and his left eye was sliced open by the umbrella’s pole. He suffered a traumatic concussion and was left with a grisly scar. Following the incident, the man had regular headaches and episodes of post-concussive syndrome. 

Earlier this year, Leesfield & Partners attorneys filed a lawsuit in the case of a toddler who drowned at an Airbnb rental property’s pool. An investigation by attorneys revealed that the pool did not have the regulated pool safety fence mandated by state law. Litigation in that case is ongoing. 

Serious Injuries On The Water

As the summer months attract more people to the beach and the water, they also sprout more ocean injuries on watercrafts such as boats and jet skis. In June, Partner and Trial Attorney Justin B. Shapiro penned an article in The Daily Business Review discussing the severe injuries and subsequent litigation involved with jet ski rentals. 

“In the 48-year history of our law firm, we have seen no water activity produce more serious injuries and fatalities than jet ski rentals,” Shapiro wrote in the article. 

A wrongful death lawsuit handled by the law firm involving the tragic death of a New Jersey tourist on a Key West jet ski rental resulted in a $3 million award for the victim’s family. 

Leesfield & Partners secured a seven-figure settlement in a case, this time involving the Key West boating death of a young woman.

 A woman from Texas was represented by Leesfield & Partners after she shattered her femur on a jet ski in Key West. Attorneys with the firm secured a $580,000 recovery for the woman in that case. 

If you or a loved one were injured on the beach or involved in a boat accident, call a Leesfield & Partners attorney for a free consultation today at 800-836-6400

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