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Balcony falls lead to tourist deaths and injuries

Within a few weeks, the main Florida tourist season will be upon us. Florida businesses like hotels and restaurants depend heavily on the influx of tourism dollars to keep their coffers full year round.

One of the biggest negatives facing these tourism-dependent businesses is the death of a tourist on their premises. While this could occur in any number of ways, one manner that always gets a great deal of media exposure is falls from balconies. Below is some information about the problem of injuries and deaths from balcony falls.

A 2009 retrospective data analysis from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System studied these type of incidents. Below are their findings.

During one 16-year period, approximately 86,500 injuries from balcony fall were treated in hospital Emergency Rooms across the nation. The vast majority -- 70 percent -- of balcony falls happened to males. Adults over 18 made up 63 percent of the victims, while eight died and 24 percent required hospitalization; the balcony fall-related injury rate for children actually dropped significantly over that time period. However, those 17 and younger had a higher rate of closed head injuries like skull fractures and concussions.

The heights of these falls were between 5' and 87.5'. In approximately 5,600 instances, one factor was the balcony's structural failure.

There were three major factors that emerged in balcony falls, according to the study. They were:

-- Male gender

-- Age of the victims

-- Warm months

If you are injured in a fall from a Florida hotel or resort balcony, you may have grounds to seek compensation from the property owners.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Epidemiology of balcony fall-related injuries, United States, 1990-2006," Shields BJ1, Burkett E, Smith GA, accessed April 22, 2016

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