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At long last, summer weather is upon us. Barbecues, swimming pools, and farmer's tans are beckoning. And not to rain on your summertime parade, but it's important to remember that accidents and injuries can happen anywhere, even when you're just planning on a relaxing day at the beach. So, whether you're headed to Malibu, Cape Cod, or any of the beaches in between, we hope it'll be a blissful visit. But just in case, let's review some summer beach injuries and related liability issues.
Swimming while a lifeguard is on duty can give beach-goers an inflated sense of security. But those lifeguards are often looking after a large number of people, and they're not perfect. When they do make mistakes, they can be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur as a result, particularly because they are specially trained, held to a higher standard of care, and have a duty to provide emergency aid to those in need.
There is a wide range of injuries that can occur at the beach, including drownings, injuries from natural conditions like currents, and random injuries caused by someone's negligence. Sometimes liability isn't as obvious, like the liability of whoever employs the lifeguard, or the city that failed to post signs about hidden dangers.
Private property owners are generally liable for injuries that occur on their premises. However, many states limit this liability to encourage owners to allow recreational use of their land by the public. But if you've been injured on someone's private beach, you may still be able to hold them responsible for your injuries.
If you're injured while attending an organized event, the event sponsors, planners, or host may be responsible for those injuries. In addition to premises liability, which imposes certain duties on property owners, an accident is often caused by someone's negligence.
Law enforcement officers assigned to patrol the beach are supposed to look out for the safety of all beachgoers. Unfortunately, some cops make mistakes and end up causing the harm, for example through negligence, excessive force, or recklessness.
Beach injuries range from uncomfortable sunburns to fatal drownings. If you or a loved one were injured at the beach, contact an attorney to discuss who might be liable for those injuries.