I Got Injured While Surfing at a Public Beach. What Do I Do to Get Compensated?
People should be safe when using public facilities. Most state and local governments understand their responsibility to the public and take all measures necessary to ensure the security of their constituents. But public safety must go beyond rules, regulations, and directives. There must be vigorous enforcement. Professionals must be put on the ground to ensure public parks, beaches, and other spaces are safe for people to recreate in. This does not always happen. Those charged with public safety often fail to do their jobs properly, which can lead to accidents and injuries.
If you have been injured on a public beach, then you should build up a case and sue. However, you must first contact a personal injury lawyer. The moment you file suit against the public agency responsible for overseeing the beach you were on, you will meet resistance. You should have a legal strategy in place, or at least the beginnings of one, before moving forward.
You will need to tell your lawyer the nature and circumstances of the injuries you suffered. They will advise you as to whether you have a good case against the government agency responsible for safety on the beach.
Here are some of the most common kinds of accidents on a beach and the government’s responsibilities in regard to them:
Many public beaches have playgrounds. It should be safe for your children to play on the various objects, rides, and other equipment. These items must be put through the most rigorous testing and evaluation before they are installed. If they sustain damage, then they should be removed or made off limits to children. In the latter instance, clear warning signs should be posted so that parents know to keep their children away. If none of this is done and your child is injured, then you should sue.
Many beaches have banned the use of glass bottles on the beach. This is done to protect people from broken glass. The beach is the one place that one is expected to walk barefoot. You should have the freedom to do so without worrying about stepping on shards of glass. It is not enough for authorities to ban glass on the beach. They must enforce this ban, and they must do regular safety sweeps to ensure that the beach is free of broken glass.
Some public beaches are in locations inhabited by dangerous wildlife – both land and water borne. It is not always possible to keep these creatures at bay. The responsible public agency must seal off the areas of the beach that they cannot keep dangerous animals out of. They must also warn the public of the presence of these animals, so people can be vigilant and alert. You should have the information you need to protect yourself and your family.
Public beaches are required to have lifeguards. The sole purpose of a lifeguard is to keep people from drowning. The size of the beach determines the number of lifeguards that must be on duty. It will not do for a local government to cut the number of lifeguards to save money. Nor is it right for the responsible public agency to hire individuals who are inexperienced and unqualified. If you nearly drowned because none of the lifeguards on duty spotted you in time or were not competent in the administration of first aid, it could cause health complications down the line. This could lead to hospitalization and loss of wages. You should sue the government for compensation. It was their responsibility to hire the right number of qualified lifeguards to look after your safety.
No matter the level of skill you possess as a surfer, you cannot remain safe on the board unless you know the conditions of where you are surfing. It is the responsible agency’s job to post warning signs about especially treacherous waters so that you know to avoid them or take extra caution. As in the case with drowning, you may develop unexpected health problems while surfing. If that happens, one of the lifeguards on duty should spot you and come immediately to your aid. If you have been injured while surfing and it owes to the negligence of the public authorities, then you can build up a case and sue.
You may be reticent to file suit because of the cost. This is a legitimate concern. Lawsuits of this nature can cost up to $30,000. However, most personal injury lawyers will arrange it so that they get a percentage of whatever you end up winning in compensation. In fact, most such lawyers will not take the case unless they can be reasonably sure they can win it.
Personal injuries are specialists in their field. They are trained to gather evidence, introduce eyewitness and expert testimony, and employ the relevant parts of the law on your behalf. If you have been injured in a surfing accident on a public beach, you must prove that government negligence is at the root of it. Here is how a personal injury lawyer can help you do that:
Proving Government Ownership
The first thing your lawyer will do is prove that the beach you were on is owned and managed by a government agency. They will need to do a bit of research to find the documents that verify this. Once they have done so, you will have the exact target of your suit.
You will need to play a part in this. You should use your cell phone to film the area in which you were injured. Your video should highlight the lack of warning signs and lifeguards. You may also want to get the contact information of others on the beach, as they may later need to be called as witnesses. Your lawyer will dig even deeper. They will look for documents that prove the hazards that exist on the beach and the failure of the government to do anything about them.
In the end, the government may want to settle the case rather than go through a long, drawn out, and embarrassing trial. After the accident, an incident manager will arrive at the scene. You must make it clear to them that you did nothing wrong. You want to ensure that none of your statements can be used against you when it comes to settling the case.
Your lawyer will negotiate with government officials to determine the exact sum of money you should receive. Your lawyer will ensure that you receive compensation that is commensurate with all that you have suffered.