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Shark Attacks and New Smyrna Beach Accident Attorneys

Wed, Aug 03, 2011 at 2:00PM


There were only six shark attacks in Volusia County, Fla., in 2010, a paltry number for the “shark attack capital of the United States.”

The chances of getting hit by lightning are greater than getting bitten by a shark, according to experts. However, the chances of suing the government of Volusia County, which maintains and patrols the beach, are even slimmer, according to a New Smyrna Beach accident attorney.

Volusia has by far the most unprovoked shark attacks dating back to 1882. Since then, the first year of reported attacks, there have been 235 unprovoked attacks reported in the county, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which maintains the International Shark Attack File. The next closest is neighboring Brevard County at 110. Amazingly there has never been a reported fatality out of those 235 attacks.

There are several theories about why swimmers and surfers in East Central Florida get nibbled on more than any other place in the nation. Museum officials attribute it to the popularity of the area’s beaches and the number of sharks that congregate there. But the lack of fatalities may be due to the relatively small size of the sharks that rarely include larger species like tiger and great white sharks.

Still, it’s a good idea to learn the precautions for avoiding shark attacks no matter where you like to swim or surf, according to a New Smyrna Beach accident attorney. Also from the museum, here they are:

  • Stay in groups. You’re more apt to get attacked if you’re by yourself
  • Don’t stray too far from the beach.
  • Sharks are most active in twilight or darkness, so stay out of the water during that time.
  • Don’t go in the water if you’re bleeding or have a wound.
  • Take off the shiny jewelry.
  • Keep your tan even and your swimsuit dull, sharks can see contrasts.
  • Avoid murky water.
  • Don’t splash too much.
  • Stay away from the area between sandbars or at steep drop-offs, which is where sharks hang out.
  • Don’t swim with a pet.
  • Don’t go in the water if you know sharks are there and get out of the water if you see one.

A New Smyrna Beach accident attorney can explain your rights if you are bitten by a shark on Volusia County’s public beaches.

It would be nearly impossible to hold Volusia County responsible for shark attacks.  Because of the inherent danger of constantly changing surf and other naturally occurring conditions along Florida’s coast, our law protects the county from suit.  An exception might arise if a county lifeguard was negligent in the way he responded to a distress call after an attack occurred. Similarly, an exception could occur if a lifeguard knew of the presence of sharks in the water and failed to take appropriate measures to warn the public.  These types of cases, however, are extreme long shots.

Seitz & Tresher is a Florida law firm that knows the beaches of Daytona and New Smyrna, and can provide representation in personal injury and wrongful death cases.


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