Open umbrellas and wind do not mix well. In Florida, over-sized umbrellas at beaches and sidewalk cafes or restaurants are abundant, creating the risk of significant personal injury. In certain situations, umbrella-related injuries may result in death, as in the unfortunate 1951 Georgia case who was struck in the temple by a pool umbrella.
In 2010, two individuals in Naples, Florida were injured when they were hit by table umbrellas that were improperly secured and lifted off the ground during gusting winds. One woman was struck on the head and suffered a herniated disc in her neck, which is a permanent and serious injury.
Recently, a beach umbrella from a vendor booth in Miami Beach flew up into the wind and stabbed a woman in the back. She recovered $50,000 in damages. A similar situation occurred in Ocean City, Maryland in 2010.
In Florida personal injury cases, plaintiffs’ attorneys must prove that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence. In order to hold individuals or companies liable for negligence, they must have some legal duty or obligation toward the plaintiffs, such as the duty to warn, duty to secure an item (such as an umbrella), and duty to make the area (such as a restaurant) safe. The defendants’ failure or breach of one or more duties may make them legally responsible for the plaintiff’s claims for injuries and resulting damages.