Ahhh. The sweet sounds, smells, and sights of a New Jersey summer. What comes to mind? For many, it’s the quintessential tradition of going “down the shore”—visiting the many quaint and unique shops, eating ice cream on the boardwalk, stepping into an aquarium, or hanging out at the beach.
These glory days, however, are not without risk. A mechanical failure on a Ferris wheel. An improperly prepared lobster roll. Or something as simple as a uneven board on the boardwalk that trips you.
Is Anyone Liable for Beach-Related Injuries?
This is decidedly not a one-size-fits-all answer. Liability for any injury depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Was there a duty of care owed by the potentially responsible party to the person who was injured? Here, for example, we need to investigate the status of the person who suffered the injury. Was he a guest? A trespasser? Was it public or private property?
- Once we establish the nature of the relationship between the victim and the party that may be responsible, the next question is whether that party, in fact, breached their duty of care. So, even if a ride operator does have a duty to protect riders from harm, if the cause of an accident was outside of his control, he is probably NOT liable…perhaps the ride manufacturer is.
- The next step is to consider whether this failure to meet the applicable standard of care is directly connected to the actual harm caused. Another example: If a food truck employee forgets to wear appropriate gloves while handling food, but a person got hurt by stepping off the food truck stand, would the employee be liable for the person’s broken foot? No. There must be a reasonable causal tie between the act and the harm suffered.
- Lastly, the actions of the injured person must also be evaluated. In New Jersey, if a person is more than 50% responsible for his injury due to his own actions, he may not recover damages.
Understanding the facts and circumstances of a personal injury situation is the first step in possibly recovering money damages. Reach out to Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari at (973) 635-5400 to speak to a New Jersey personal injury attorney. We have obtained more personal injury settlements and verdicts than any other firm in New Jersey.