Boardwalk and Beach Accidents

Many people cite sharks as their greatest fear at the beach.

Truth-be-told, the risk of predatory fish is infinitesimal compared to other boardwalk and beach accidents resulting in personal injury or death.

Our Fort Lauderdale beach injury lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm know the question of liability in these cases can be complex because they are often owned or managed by government entities. Even private property owners may be off-the-hook for damages if they allowed their property to be used by the public free-of-charge for recreation.

However, hotels, shopping centers, theme parks and others also maintain waterfront property can’t usually expect the same type of protection.

Because these injuries can often be serious no matter who owns the property, we recommend speaking with an injury lawyer who has extensive experience in premises liability law.

Some examples of boardwalk and beach accidents include:

  • Slip-and-fall injuries on wet or sandy planks;
  • Trip-and-fall injuries caused by obstructions of debris or poorly-maintained boards;
  • Laceration injuries caused by contact with nails, needles or other sharp objects;
  • Spinal cord injuries from unsafe diving or from a wave slamming them to the ground;
  • Drowning in a riptide or other dangerous waters.

Boardwalk injuries and beach injuries have the potential not just to ruin an otherwise good day, but to potentially be life-altering. A beach injury attorney can help Fort Lauderdale residents pursue a claim for compensation.

Boardwalk Injuries

The boardwalks that line Florida’s shopping centers, nature preserves, beaches, theme parks and other destinations are part of what give it character. Whether it’s made of wood or recycled plastic or concrete, these surfaces can pose unique risks due to their structure as well as proximity to water and sand.

Some examples of boardwalk injuries in recent years include:

  • A 73-year-old Texas woman who died in 2008 when she lost her balance on an unmarked, uneven slab of sidewalk on city property and landed on her face and head. She required emergency surgery, but died two months later.
  • A Southwest Florida woman sued a non-profit entity that owns a nature sanctuary after she slipped and fell on bird droppings and mud on the path, causing her to slip and skid several feet before falling and breaking her right shoulder. Plaintiff alleged defendant failed to maintain the boardwalk in a reasonably safe condition, or to construct the walkway with an effective skid-resistant surface. There was also no warning that the walkway was slippery or could be slippery. The accumulation of leaves and droppings from trees, plants and other wildlife created a foreseeable zone of danger, plaintiff alleged.
  • Atlantic City and surrounding towns reportedly spent more than $2 million over the course of five years settling boardwalk injury lawsuits.

In these cases, the key will be identifying who owned the property, and then identifying the legal status of the injured plaintiff.

All premises liability cases in Florida will depend on the reason the victim was on site. In cases where we’re talking about hotels, shopping centers or restaurants, we’re likely dealing with a situation where plaintiff was a business invitee. That means the business invited plaintiff on site for the financial benefit of the business.

In the case of a place like a nature preserve, a major question will be whether the plaintiff paid for admission. In cases where admission is free, plaintiffs may have a harder time asserting the property owner owed a duty of care. A Fort Lauderdale beach injury attorney will be able to explain more.

Beach Injuries

Beach injuries could range from lacerations from sharp objects left on site to drownings to animal attacks. Liability will depend on a range of factors.

For example, owners of a private beach will owe a duty to make sure the site is reasonably safe. That doesn’t mean they must clean up every shell to protect visitors’ feet. It does mean they need to address non-obvious hazards and, if it’s a business, regularly check for possible hazards.

Property owners generally won’t be liable for natural hazards, such as riptides or other condition, unless it was:

  • A foreseeable danger;
  • Not obvious to visitor/ patron;
  • Property owner failed to warn of it.

A prime example would be the case of a 2-year-old boy who was killed by an alligator in Florida while he and his family were wading in shallow water at a beach near their hotel, owned by a theme park. Signs near the area did say there should be “No Swimming,” but there was no warning of alligators, a danger park officials knew existed in those waters.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured at a beach or boardwalk in the Fort Lauderdale area, let our beach injury lawyers assist you.

Contact the Fort Lauderdale attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or (954) 761-3641.

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