Many Floridians Getting Sick This Summer from Local Rivers & Beaches
Many are concerned about a number of injury and potential wrongful death incidents that have occurred in Florida this summer, many of which have involved people being rushed to the emergency room. Given that a number of people have become sick or ill while on Florida’s public beaches, could this constitute a premises liability claim against those state and/or federal agencies responsible for keeping us and the environment safe for our use?
Exposure to toxic algae alone has already sent more than 15 people to Florida emergency rooms as problems continue with the state’s red tide this summer. Most of them reportedly became sick after coming into contact with the St. Lucie River, although Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in a number of Florida counties, including Glades, Henry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie. The National Weather Service also reported red tide issues in Collier and Sarasota counties.
Cyanobacteria from Lake Okeechobee
The exposure to the cyanobacteria reportedly started when the Army Corps of Engineers released flows from Lake Okeechobee to keep the lake’s levels down. Coming into contact with the bacteria can cause allergy-like symptoms, eye irritation, nausea, and vomiting in people. Drinking water that contains the toxin can also cause long-term liver problems.
Although the agency suspended these releases once people started getting sick, as of July 30, they resumed the water-lowering efforts.
Fecal Bacteria at the Beach
One three-year-old is also currently recovering from a bacterial infection she obtained after spending two hours at Key Biscayne’s Crandon Beach. According to the hospital, there have been a number of infection cases out of this particular Florida beach. In addition, even though the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County issued an advisory for Crandon Beach North and South, as well as Golden Beach earlier in July, reportedly, no warning signs have been posted in the area, which arguably constitutes negligence and a failure to properly warn people about the dangers on the property. As a result of her visit to the beach, the little girl has suffered from scarring all over her face and hands.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida Injury Lawyers
Rightfully so, this little girl’s family wonders why these beaches are not being properly maintained safely for visitors. It would seem clear that not only should state agencies like the Florida Department of Health take responsibility to prevent outbreaks like these, but also the Army Corps of Engineers arguably behaved negligently in continuing to release water from Lake Okeechobee after news of the infections broke.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence, we can help. Our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys are committed to holding any parties responsible for accountability, including local, state, and federal government entities. Contact us at Friedland & Associates today to find out more.