Recent Zipline Injuries Raise Questions about Liability in Florida
The zip line continues to grow in popularity, evolving from a necessary method of transportation in remote parts of the world into a backyard toy. While its growth may provide a fun recreational activity, it’s also resulted in a significant number of news-making injuries. Recent reports include a California man who was seriously hurt while zip lining during a vacation in Cabo San Lucas. The mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs was also reportedly injured while rehearsing a zip line routine for a football game. Additionally, a zip line fall in Massachusetts reportedly resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy.
According to a recent article in the Blue Mountain Eagle Newspaper, a Florida man recently settled a lawsuit he brought in Oregon against the manufacturer of a backyard zip line product. The 71-year-old reportedly purchased it as a gift for his grandchildren. Upon trying out the equipment, he fell 13 feet to the ground. His spine was reportedly crushed, resulting in the loss of his legs. The lawsuit asserted that a rope separated from the seat of the zip line, causing the fall.
What is a Zip Line?
Zip lines generally involve a thick cable suspended between two large fixed objects, usually trees. A pulley is attached to the cable, allowing passengers to suspend as they move along the cable between the two objects. They were traditionally found only in remote locations, where reports state that they were commonly used as bridges over impassable areas. As tourist travel to these areas increased, zip lining evolved into a vacation activity for the most adventurous. Its usage now includes birthday parties, amusement parks and even backyards.
The increase in use, along with the increase in injuries, calls attention to the reported lack of regulation within the zip line industry. States vary widely in their laws regarding zip line usage, with no standard federal rules. This can create a situation where safety standards are compromised.
For injuries that occur in amusement parks or other recreational settings, there may be liability on the part of the facility. Employee negligence may result in the inappropriate use of the equipment, while improper maintenance can lead to a faulty and unsafe product. In these situations, the injured party should secure the services of an lawyer to determine a theory of liability and identify the most appropriate defendant.
In cases where the zip line was purchased for private use, injuries could result in a product liability lawsuit. As with the Florida man who was injured, a party may choose to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer. His lawsuit sought more than $7 million in damages, even though his purchase of the product included a mandatory liability clause, where he agreed to hold the manufacturer harmless in the event of injury. The lawsuit settled out of court for an undetermined amount of money.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a zip line accident, contact Miami based Pita & Del Prado for knowledgeable guidance and aggressive representation. Call 305-670-2889 today for a free consultation