Historically, a harsh winter for much of the country tends to result in a booming tourist season for the Sunshine State. Things were so bad this year in Ithaca, NY that when the local tourism website suggested people bypass the area and head to Key West instead, the site was overwhelmed by clicks and crashed. Even mild years translate into tens of millions of people coming to experience Florida’s unique attractions, both natural and manmade.
According to preliminary estimates by Visit Florida, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, Florida attracted a record 97.3 million visitors in 2014 — its fourth consecutive record year. That's an increase of 3.9 percent over 2013.
A Tradition: Spring Break in Florida
March traditionally starts the beach season when college students arrive for Spring Break, seeking an escape from winter and their studies. Spring Break got its start in Fort Lauderdale in 1938 when the city hosted a small swim forum event. Twenty years later, students showed up in larger numbers and local businesses seized on the opportunity by offering drink specials. Things just grew exponentially from there. Today, several Florida cities are popular spring break destinations, including Panama City Beach, Orlando, Cocoa Beach and Miami.
While thousands of college students flock here every March, the majority of spring trips to the state are made by families. Visit Florida attributes statewide spring break attendance increases to parents and children, rather than party-seeking 20-somethings.
Last March delivered South Florida’s best-ever hotel performance, with properties packed and just in Miami-Dade County, hotel occupancy averaged 88 percent for the month. In January of 2015, Broward County reported record hotel occupancy for the month at 85.9 percent, which was the county's third month in a row with the highest occupancy in the state.
More People = Increased Risks
This influx of visitors means more vehicles on the road, more pedestrians to be careful of while driving, more drivers who are distracted behind the wheel, more individuals who can be hurt in a slip and fall, more swimmers who may be injured, etc. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t get hurt.
Recent research revealed that there were 9 percent more traffic-related fatalities during spring break across 14 popular hotspots than during other times of the year. These fatalities rose during spring break weeks specifically for people with out-of-town driver's licenses and specifically for young people, which tends to suggest that spring break partygoers are in fact causing this increase in traffic deaths. While alcohol is a factor in some of these crashes as would be expected, being distracted or sleep-deprived were also found to be significant causes.
Legal Help for Injured Tourists
Here at Stabinski and Funt, P.A. we handle a wide range of tourist injury cases. There really is no difference between a tourist who is injured in Florida and a Floridian who is injured here. Even if you are not a Florida resident, you can still obtain the services of our firm. It is actually a benefit to you to have an attorney who is native to Florida and is familiar with state policies as well as local businesses and courts. What matters is finding a lawyer who has the necessary skills and will be dedicated to getting you the best results for your case.
If you were injured while visiting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami-Dade County or anywhere else in Florida, or if you are the survivor of someone who was killed here, the personal injury attorneys at Stabinski and Funt, P.A. can help by reviewing your case and discussing all available legal options. For further discussion on this topic and a free initial consultation, contact us by calling (305) 643-3100 or using our online inquiry form. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless tourist injury victims and their families throughout South Florida. Let us help you.
DISCLAIMER: Any information about past verdicts and settlements is based on the unique facts of each case. Every case is different, and future cases may not achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect the gross recovery (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).