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Local Authorities May Have A Duty To Care For Visitors To Public Beaches

by Theresa Hoffman

Jogging down the beach can be a lot of fun. Spending time engaged in such an exercise can also improve your health. However, getting injured while jogging on the beach undermines a lot of the good the activity delivers. If injured on the sandy ocean-scape, you may also have legitimate legal issues to consider. Although a public beach might be a wide-open space, the property falls under someone's care or a local government's jurisdiction. So, if the injuries are due to a party's negligence, whether direct or indirect, the injured party can pursue a civil remedy.

Wanton Negligence and a Disregard for Beach-Goer Safety

People must follow the rules established for a public beach. If visitors are told not to drink on the beach but insist on taking liquor or beer with them and choose to discard the bottles on the sand, they place themselves in a precarious legal situation. Someone who accidentally jogs on the bottle, breaks the glass, and suffers a laceration, can point to an injury sustained due to negligence. Slipping and falling on the bottle would create a similar issue. Immediate finger-pointing goes in the direction of the person who left the bottle, but that individual might not be the only party sharing in the negligence.

Where Were the Officials?

Were there lifeguards or beach patrol officials on duty at this particular beach? If so, did they admonish the people drinking and otherwise violating the rules? A failure to do so could drag the local municipality into the net of negligence. Lifeguards working for the city who ignore the rules may be deemed partially liable. Even if the lifeguards approached the disruptive party-goers and were ignored, the city might still be responsible, depending on how the lifeguards responded. Lifeguards are not peace officers, but they would have a likely duty to call the police when an incident occurs. A failure to act creates questions about negligence and a commitment to public safety.

The Local Government's Cleanup Duty

Allowing bottles and garbage to remain on the beach also creates questions about negligence. Did the city have a cleanup policy or designate someone to that task? If the beach is open to the public, then those responsible for the beach shouldn't ignore the necessary steps to keep it clean and safe. Sometimes, those steps do include cleaning up after ignorant beach-goers.

Have you been injured while jogging or otherwise exercising at a public beach, park, or other such location? If so, discussing the incident with a personal injury lawyer may be wise. Find personal injury attorney services near you today.