With summer upon us, and disconcerting news regarding shark attack reports in North Carolina, now is a good time to brush up on water safety for the whole family. While of course patrons of a beach, public park, or public pool have obligations to act reasonably, exercise caution, and follow any posted warning signs, this does not mean that the owners/managers of the premises cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident.
Premises Liability Actions
When an individual or entity holds their land out for recreational or public use, they have certain obligations they must adhere to in order to keep their patrons safe. If someone invites a friend over for dinner, the homeowner has an obligation to warn the visitor of known dangerous conditions on their property (i.e. the bathroom sink water is scalding; the dog always bites visitors). The same is true for businesses and landowners, but to an even greater extent.
Not only do businesses and landowners have a duty to warn guests of dangers they are aware of, but also of dangers they should have known about. This means that these people need to conduct reasonable inspections and stay on top of potential dangers on the property (e.g. a grocery store owner must make sure there are no spills in the aisle that someone could slip on; a pool owner must check the chemical levels of the pool to make sure the water is safe throughout the day). If an owner knew that there was a problem or dangerous condition on the property and they failed to warn guests, they could be held liable for an accident.
These are the reasons you see warning signs at the beach that state “no lifeguard on duty”, “strong current”, and “aquatic life”. A warning sign does not necessarily absolve the landowner of liability, but it is important to pay attention to and follow sign commands in order to prevent avoidable accident or injury.
In addition to premises liability actions on beaches and at public parks, watercraft injuries are also prevalent. Inexperienced or intoxicated operators of boats, jet skis, and other watercraft have significant liability to others around them. Boating accidents are often catastrophic due to the sheer size and speed of the vehicles involved. Not only should you be sure you are only riding with experienced (and sober) operators, but you need to be very careful of the people around you. Following the “rules of the water” so to speak is the best way to ensure a pleasant day for everyone. Utilize the flag if you have water skiers that fall into the water, have a designated driver the same way you would if you were in a car, and make sure there are enough life vests for everyone. These seem like simple tips, but they are so easily overlooked when you’re packing up for a fun day in the sun and you just want to get going. Making these small changes can substantially improve your safety and enjoyment on the water.
South Carolina Premises Liability and Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or anyone you know has been injured on another’s property or on the water, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. When people are harmed due to the negligence and carelessness of others, they should be held responsible under the law. At Solomon Law Group, our knowledgeable personal injury and premises liability attorneys are always available to listen to the facts of your case. We have collectively helped thousands of individuals that have been wrongfully harmed by others; please contact us and tell us about your case today.