TALLAHASSEE, FL and FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwired - February 11, 2014) - On July 1, 2013, 17-year-old Alexis Fairchild of Huntington, Indiana and her friend Sidney Good of Roanoke, Indiana went up in tandem when strong winds snapped their parasail free from its boat below. Witnesses watched in horror as the girls were flung across the shoreline, smashed into a nearby condo rooftop and were dragged into a power line, before plunging into cars parked below.
Florida Senator Maria Sachs of Delray Beach, the Fairchild family and their attorneys from the law firm of Chalik & Chalik, will hold a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m. on the fourth floor of the state Capitol to discuss pending legislation that would place stringent requirements on the commercial parasailing industry. Immediately following the press conference, victim Alexis Fairchild will address lawmakers during a committee hearing on the proposed legislation.
Senate Bill 320 would require commercial parasailing companies to carry insurance; have a license issued by the United States Coast Guard; require certain equipment be on the boat; and ensure that parasailing services stop when weather conditions deteriorate, as they had when Alexis and Sidney took their near-fatal ride last summer.
The Coast Guard estimates there have been 11 parasailing related deaths and 52 injuries since 2006. Despite these startling statistics, Florida lawmakers have been reluctant to regulate the parasailing industry.
"This lack of oversight means no one is keeping tabs on parasailing operators to make sure ropes that are damaged by sun and salt water are replaced," said attorney Deborah Chalik, partner at The Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik, who filed the suit on in Bay County, Fla. on behalf of Alexis' parents Michael and Angelia Fairchild. "Parasailing should be a fun and safe activity. Passing Senator Sachs' bill will hold parasailing companies accountable for the safety of their customers."
Last month, the Fairchild's announced the filing of a negligence lawsuit against the parasailing company that took their daughter and her friend up, its owner and the hotel that operated the excursions.
"Aquatic Adventures Management Group, which operated Why Knot Parasail, not only ignored the fact that weather conditions had deteriorated, but failed to operate the boat a safe distance from shore," said Chalik who has spent years pushing for reform. Chalik & Chalik has successfully represented a number parasailing accident victims.
Aquatic Adventures' owner Jeff Jones, Treasure Island Resort Rentals, Inc. and Phoenix Rope and Cordage are also named defendants. In addition to negligence, the lawsuit includes claims for loss of companionship as well as medical expenses.
Alexis suffered broken bones in her spine, a serious brain injury and a skull fracture and will continue to need medical care for years to come. Since the accident Alexis has undergone three craniotomies and had to have spinal fusion surgery. She has had to relearn basic tasks such as how to brush her teeth and has difficulty reading and doing math.
Chalik & Chalik have been long-time proponents of parasailing legislation and launched a petition drive to get Florida lawmakers to pass Sen. Sachs bill. Those interested in signing the petition can visit http://www.makeparasailingsafe.com.
About Chalik & Chalik
The Law office of Chalik & Chalik is devoted to helping the victims of personal injury. With offices throughout Florida, Chalik & Chalik's personal injury practice focuses on car accidents, trucking injuries and wrecks, slip and fall personal injury litigation, work-related injuries and medical malpractice. Over the past several years, the firm has handled several parasailing accident cases and has been at the forefront of securing legislation in the Florida Legislature to reform the parasailing industry. For more information, visit http://www.chaliklaw.com.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: To obtain actual USCG crash footage and accident photos, please reach out to media contact.