If you have never needed legal representation before, you may view lawyers as a costly and unnecessary expense. However, when it comes to personal injury cases, in particular, choosing to handle a claim on your own could end up costing you a great deal more than the legal fees would have. Though it’s not legally required to have an attorney in order to file a personal injury claim, this is the best chance you’ll have at getting the maximum compensation amount you deserve for your injuries.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, it’s safe to say that personal injury attorneys Eddie Farah and Charlie Farah are proud to have dedicated their careers to protecting the rights of ordinary people throughout The Sunshine State.
However, there are a number of peculiar, outdated, and just plain baffling laws and ordinances that keep us wondering, “How did that ever become a law?” Some strange laws or public ordinances have been repealed, but being so mind-boggling, there’s no quelling the rumors of their existence.
Without further ado, here are some of the strangest laws and ordinances in Florida.
- If you happen to be the owner of an elephant, be sure to have plenty of change when you decide to ride into town. Tying your elephant to a parking meter while you run errands or have dinner will cost the same amount as it would to park a vehicle in that spot.
- Weekend thrill-seekers beware, if you happen to be an unmarried woman, it is illegal for you to parachute on a Sunday. You could be arrested, fined, or end up in jail!
- No matter what the current fashion trends are or how unique your sense of style, men may not be seen in public wearing a strapless gown. The same goes for those of you who wish to wear nothing but liquid latex in public. Under F.S. 383.015, liquid latex just doesn’t provide enough coverage and nudity is prohibited in public.
Here at Farah & Farah, we are well acquainted with the many strange happenings that go on throughout Florida. While there are many modern oddities, our state is steeped in many strange legends.
But as lifelong Floridians, we embrace these urban legends and the color they add to our state. For your entertainment, here are six legends from across the centuries that were born right here in The Sunshine State.
The Cassadaga Devil Chair – Devil’s chairs are a type of funeral sculpture that were frequently added to 19th Century graves, but have become major sources of legend. The one in a Cassadaga cemetery is apparently home to a ghost that really loves beer. Leave an unopened can of the stuff on the bench and it will be opened and drained by morning. Not good enough? Sit in the chair and you’ll see The Devil.
An Ancient Battle with a Giant Alligator Leads to the Strange Spook Hill – The title really says it all. Centuries ago, a Native American chief battled an enormous gator to protect his Lake Wales village, leading to both their deaths. Pioneers later named the area of battle Spook Hill, since their horses experienced great difficulty riding through the area. Today, cars seem to roll uphill in the area when put into neutral. It’s a very complex legend for what is really an optical illusion, like other so-called “gravity hills.” The area looks like cars go uphill when they are actually going downhill.
The Secret Origin of the Love Bug – Every year, the sticky Florida air is temporarily filled with millions of “love bugs.” These pests coat your car and fill your nose if you are unlucky enough to enter a swarm. But do you know where they come from? Urban legend says that these bugs were concocted by scientists to crush the mosquito population, but escaped from a lab and ran rampant. Really, these are just a subspecies of march flies. Not nearly as exciting.
The Tale of the Mexican Pet – The story goes that a family visiting Florida found a pet they thought was a Chihuahua or generic “Mexican” dog, bought it, and brought it home. But the animal ate their cat, so they took it to a vet to have it tested, only to find out it was a giant sewer rat. The moral? Buyer beware. The reality? None whatsoever.
The Skunk Ape is Neither a Skunk Nor Ape – Some places have Bigfoot, others have lake monsters, Florida has the Skunk Ape. This giant, upright ape-like creature has been spotted across in state since the 1960’s and is named after the foul smell that accompanies it everywhere. Two anonymous photos of the creature snooping around in a backyard sent to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department have kept the legend alive. The creature even has its own commemorative silver coin!
The Fountain of Youth is in Florida – The Fountain of Youth is a centuries old legend, but who knew that it had so much to do with Florida? Conquistador Ponce de Leon was convinced that the Fountain was somewhere in Florida. A story told by a long-held captive in the eventual state revealed that a lost river he called the “Jordan” could cure the people who used its waters. According to biographies written after his death, de Leon and his fellow Spaniards searched every body of water they came across. Sadly, it still has not been found. Maybe that explains all the retirees that come here.
Do you have a favorite Florida myth that we didn’t list here? Let us know!
Despite an increasing number of scientific studies that show a disturbing link between indoor tanning and an increased risk of developing skin cancer, it appears that the tanning industry is alive and thriving in Florida.
Researchers from the University of Miami compared the number of registered Florida businesses that provide indoor tanning services with a number of other registered businesses in the state and found that, shockingly, there are more facilities that provide tanning services in the Sunshine State than there are McDonald’s restaurants.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, there are at least 1,261 businesses that provide indoor tanning services in the state. These businesses outnumber McDonald’s (868) or even CVS pharmacies (693) in Florida. The study reported that only Bank of America ATMs at 1,455 were more common.
Two Indiana teens were critically injured in Panama City Beach after the tow line from a parasail they were riding on allegedly snapped in bad weather.
Witnesses reported that a strong wind from a passing storm had come up at the time of the accident and that after the tow line line reportedly detached, the two helpless 17-year-old teens were carried to shore where they crashed into the side of a condominium and hit a power line before they landed on a parked car in the condo parking lot.
The personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah in Gainesville have reported about the lightly regulated parasailing industry in previous blogs. Just recently, a Connecticut widower filed a wrongful death suit after his wife plunged some 200 feet to her death in the water after her parasailing harness allegedly failed while the two were in the air.
In May of this year, the Florida legislature, once again, failed to pass a bill that would have required stricter regulations for the parasailing industry.
The families’ of the two teen girls report that they both suffered head injuries and severe cuts. One victim required surgery on her back, while the other reportedly has neck injuries. The girls have been able to communicate with their families through hand gestures, according to the Miami Herald.
Fourth of July is nearly here and with the holiday comes parades, barbecues and, of course, the traditional fireworks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning that while fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day, improper use of those fireworks can also cause pain and injury.
On average, about 200 people nationwide go to emergency rooms every day with fireworks-related injuries around the month of the Fourth of July holiday. Most fireworks injuries happen to the hands and fingers (46%). However injuries to the eyes (17%) and head, face and ears (17%) also figure prominently in fireworks-related injuries. A majority of fireworks-related injuries happen to people ages 25-44 (40%).
Men, not surprisingly, are over twice as likely to be injured as women.
In an effort to keep people safe during the holiday, here are some of the tips the CPSC suggests when using fireworks:
Each June, the National Safety Council (NSC) sponsors National Safety Month (NSM), an annual observance designed to educate and influence workers and employers to implement “best practices” for safety and wellness in the workplace.
This year, the theme for National Safety Month is “Safety Starts With Me.”
The President and CEO of NSC stated that this year’s theme is designed to influence the creation of a workplace safety culture in which both employers and employees participate together to create a safer and healthier work environment. The idea is to get everybody in the workplace on board – from management on down – to create a sense of “ownership” of his or her workplace safety. That way, everybody is a safety leader looking out for their own safety and the safety of others.
The personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville have learned that a 2-year-old boy is in critical condition after he fell into an in-ground pool at an unlicensed day care facility in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville authorities say that several children had been swimming earlier in the day and that the toddler had gone back to the pool at some point. It was unclear when he had fallen in or how long he had been in the pool when he was discovered.
According to the Florida Times-Union, the unlicensed day care facility, called Kiddie Heaven, has a tall fence surrounding the backyard pool and it touts its safety features on its website.
“The slider door to the pool has three locks to prevent the most inquisitive, intelligent and mischievous of children from accessing it unsupervised,” the website claims.
A spokesman for the Florida Department of Children and Families said that the fact that unlicensed Kiddie Heaven even has a website is “audacious.” He went on to say that unlicensed day care facilities pose a great danger for children.
The son of a Tampa fertility doctor is facing a civil lawsuit and has been indicted for first-degree murder. He is accused of giving his pregnant girlfriend a prescription for an abortion pill and telling her it was an antibiotic.
The 28-year-old man allegedly forged his father’s signature on a prescription form to obtain Cytotec — a pill that induces labor — and reportedly went so far as to re-label the pill bottle as containing the antibiotic Amoxicillan.
The woman, who did not have insurance, was taken to her boyfriend’s father who is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist. During the office visit it was confirmed that she was pregnant. According to the woman, she was elated and wanted to keep the baby, even if it meant raising it alone. She claims she even had given it a name.
Shortly thereafter, the boyfriend allegedly brought his girlfriend some pills, claiming that his father had told him she had an infection that needed antibiotic treatment. She took one of the pills and quickly started feeling abdominal pain and experienced bleeding.
The woman was hospitalized and lost the nearly seven-week-old fetus. Shortly thereafter, she sought a domestic violence injunction against the boyfriend.
An attorney for the woman filed a lawsuit for damages in excess of $15,000, alleging his client suffered emotional distress and injuries as a result of the deception and the loss of her baby. Her attorney is also seeking punitive damages against the boyfriend, claiming that his alleged wrongful actions were “willful, wanton and malicious.”
The boyfriend now faces federal criminal charges for murder under the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004.” A judge denied him bail after the indictment.
If you believe you have suffered an injury, whether physical or emotional, the personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah in Palatka can take a look at your case and sort out what your legal options might be. Farah and Farah is dedicated to fighting for your legal rights and will work tirelessly to see that you get the compensation you deserve.
A new study, published in the May issue of Clinical Pediatrics, is claiming that over 4,400 children suffer injuries on amusement park rides each year. Since 70 percent of these injuries occur in the months of May through September, that means approximately one child is injured every two hours in some kind of amusement ride incident.
Researchers tracked 20 years of reports coming from over 100 hospitals nationwide, which made this study on amusement park ride injuries the most comprehensive to date. The study not only covered amusement parks, but also looked at fairs, carnivals and coin operated rides at malls, stores and arcades.
While a majority of the injuries were minor (bumps and bruises), nearly 1.5 percent of the children injured required hospitalization. The most injuries reported were caused by falls – with children falling on, in, off or against rides. It seemed to make little difference whether the ride was at a large amusement park or a smaller venue, as the injury rates were fairly evenly divided between the two.
The lead researcher of the study, which was conducted at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said that the United States needs an improved system for monitoring amusement ride-related injuries.