Summer in Massachusetts is time for relaxing on one of our numerous beaches. The weather is fabulous, the water is perfect and there are so many beach choices – from the Cape, to Nantucket, to Nantasket, to Cranes Beach. We’ve got bayside and full ocean beaches. But with summer fun comes summer risks. We cover these risks in our blogs from time to time.
One of those risks are beach umbrellas. Believe it or not, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were over 32,000 umbrella related injuries in the past decade. They are working on a rating system for beach umbrella safety. In Virginia, a woman was killed when a beach umbrella struck her in the chest in 2016. In Dennis, Massachusetts, on a summer day in 2011, the wind picked up and caused a beach umbrella to fly into the face of a beachgoer, blinding him in his left eye. The victim now wears a plastic contact lens and suffers multiple health issues because of the beach umbrella injury.
How to Prevent Umbrella Injuries?
Avoiding the beach may be too difficult, however, there are things you can do to promote beach safety. Buy only umbrellas that can be screwed into the sand, properly use “sand anchors”. Remove umbrellas when the wind gets too strong. Don’t walk away from them when they are open. Be aware of the umbrellas around you when settling in. Follow mounting directions carefully. All good ideas.
The Stand Up for Safety organization is a Massachusetts based consumer lobbying group that works with Congress to educate and promote laws, and with the CPSC to promote regulations and research to “reduce preventable injuries” with beach umbrellas and other “impalements”. You can get involved by undertaking the actions these consumer advocates promote.
Liability for Beach Umbrella Injuries
Is there liability for injuries sustained if someone is injured by a flying beach umbrella? There could be. Is there insurance coverage? Again, there could be. Was the product defective for a case against the manufacturer? Perhaps. If you are injured by your own umbrella, there would not likely be any liability of course. However, if you suffer serious injuries, like the folks mentioned above, the person or the property owner who failed to properly secure his or her beach umbrella could be held responsible.
Witnesses and photographs would be critical for proving negligence in such a situation. These days, with cell phone cameras, it would be important to get photos and a video of the location where the umbrella came from and what type of mounting it had. If there was a serious injury, we would need the police and ambulance report. Such reports are replete with helpful information regarding liability for such accidents.
If You Were Injured Call Lawyers Neil Burns and Roshan Jain
Neil Burns has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1985. He has represented hundreds of victims of personal injury in state and federal courts. Roshan Jain has been practicing law since 2005, in California, where he represented public carriers in personal injury cases, and since 2012 in Massachusetts representing victims of personal injury and legal malpractice.
Call Burns & Jain for a free consultation: 617-227-7423.