One of the advantages of living in Southern California is our proximity to the beach. Anyone who has spent any amount of time at the beach has returned home with an injury. It’s often a painful sunburn, a bite from a sand creature or perhaps a knock to the head by an errant volleyball.
Of course, some injuries, like drowning or near-drowning, are far more serious. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at the beach, can you hold anyone liable so that you can recover the compensation you need for medical bills and other financial losses? Let’s look at a few scenarios.
Lifeguards and beach patrol personnel
When there is a lifeguard is on duty, they have a responsibility to be on the lookout for beachgoers who may be in distress, either on the beach or in the ocean, and watch out for dangerous conditions that could require shutting down parts of the beach. They’re trained to provide first aid and call for medical assistance if someone is injured.
Of course, lifeguards can’t be everywhere. Still, if no lifeguard was on duty when they were supposed to be, there weren’t sufficient lifeguards for the area or they failed to carry out their responsibilities, then the city or whatever entity they work for may have some liability.
The same is true for beach patrol personnel. Their job is typically focused on maintaining order and safety at the beach. If they harm a beachgoer, either by hitting them with a vehicle or using excessive force, their employer could be held liable for damages.
Private beach property owners
Many stretches of beach in Southern California are the private property of homeowners, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. If you’re on a private beach that you have a right to be on (perhaps because you’re a hotel, restaurant or event guest) and you’re injured, then you may be able to hold the property owner liable. If you’re participating in an event, it may be possible to hold the event organizer liable, depending on the cause of your injury and the details of any liability waiver you may have signed
Of course, every situation is unique. If you believe that your injury, or the loss of a loved one, resulted from someone’s negligence or intentional actions, then you’ll want to learn more about what your options are for seeking compensation.