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What Kinds of Personal Injury Accidents Happen at the Beach?

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Posted on May 17, 2023

When the daylight hours lengthen and the sunshine turns warm and bright, many people hear the call of the waves and head to the beach for a day of swimming, sinking toes into warm sand, and sunning on the shore while slathered in coconutty tanning lotion. But what happens when a relaxing day at the beach ends in long hours at an emergency room or a tragedy?

While the sound of waves crashing on a shore and the feel of warm sun on bare shoulders make beachgoers feel like all is right with the world, accidents at beaches are all too common. In fact, 75% of the nation’s 4,000 annual drownings occur at the beach, not only to children but to beachgoers of all ages. Accidental drawings aren’t the only injuries people sustain during beach outings.

While everyone loves a day at the beach or a relaxing beach vacation, it helps to familiarize yourself with possible hazards so you and your family can avoid them while enjoying the sun and surf.

Preventable vs Unpreventable Beach Accidents

Shark attacks may get a lot of news coverage, but they are among the least common beach injuries, while sunburn is by far the most common injury. Though a shark attack may be impossible to predict and sunburn is entirely predictable and preventable, the majority of accidents between those two ends of the spectrum happen when people are the least aware and when someone else is at fault. Common personal injuries on beaches include:

  • Falls
  • Lacerations from sharp objects and beach debris
  • Drowning
  • Raft, tube, and float accidents
  • Jetski and small watercraft accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Contaminated or toxic water injuries
  • Illness from algae blooms in areas lacking proper warning signs
  • Wind-blown beach umbrella injuries

While many of the above injuries are avoidable and beach owners or property managers could be held liable for foreseeable hazards left unaddressed, there are also risks at the beach that no one could prevent. Nature inevitably comes with risks, and beaches are examples of nature at its most powerful. These risks include:

  • Rip tides
  • Shorebreak waves
  • Lightning
  • Jellyfish stings
  • Shark bites

While not all injuries are preventable or due to the fault of another, if an accident was entirely preventable, the owner of a private beach or a government agency managing a public beach could be liable to pay for the victim’s damages.

Causes of Preventable Injuries on Beaches

Some beach injuries occur due to negligence on the part of the property owner, manager, or government agency tasked with maintaining beach safety. Preventable accidents at the beach often occur due to the following:

  • Lack of certified lifeguards
  • Lack of warning signs for dangers
  • Lack of gates blocking off danger areas
  • Trash or debris left on the beach
  • Potholes in parking lots
  • Unsafe walkways, boardwalks, or beach-access stairs
  • Slippery floor conditions at beach-access food vendors
  • Toxic chemical spills in the water from boat accidents
  • Unmarked underwater drop-offs

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to any of the above unsafe conditions, you could file a personal injury claim with a San Diego personal injury lawyer against the liable party to pay for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Don’t let a day at the beach turn into physical and financial suffering without taking legal action to redress the harm.