Is Sand Renourishment Causing Beach Accidents?
Each year, coastal territories spend millions of dollars replacing the sand on East Coast beaches. With water levels rising, the need to replace sand is only going to grow. But for at least one man who is now a quadriplegic, sand renourishment may be to blame for the accident that caused his injuries.
Twenty-five-year-old Andrew Gallo dove head-first into an approaching wave. Instead of coming down in the water, however, he came down in a sandbar and broke his neck. Now one group of researchers is saying that efforts to renourish beaches may be linked to a growing number of accidents like the one that cost Andrew Gallo the use of his arms and legs.
The group says that they hope to raise the awareness of government officials concerning the possible dangers to beachgoers. John Fletemeyer of the International Drowning Prevention Alliance along with other researchers recently published an article in the Journal of Coastal Research examining beach-related accidents. The study concluded that there were a number of drownings and other serious accidents that occurred after beach renourishment. One beach in Maryland saw a 297% increase in beach-related accidents and fatalities.
Who is Liable?
This is essentially a premises liability lawsuit against the state. Since the state controls the beaches, it is their domain of control and they take on liability. However, whether or not a plaintiff would be able to pursue a lawsuit against the state depends on the sovereign immunity laws in that jurisdiction.
Further, all premises liability lawsuits rest on the question of whether or not the injury or death was foreseeable. In this case, a study showing the dangers of beach renourishment has only recently been published, so it can be argued that the state had no means of knowing the beach renourishment posed a threat to beachgoers.
Even if the study had been published prior to Andrew Gallo’s accident, there would be a limitation on how much money he would be able to collect in a civil suit filed against the State of Florida. If the beach was private property of an individual or company, then a lawsuit could be filed against that individual or company without such encumbrances.
Even still, beach injuries are merely correlated to beach renourishment and it is (as of yet) unclear whether or not renourishment itself has caused an increase in beach-related accidents. For instance, a recently-improved beach may have more guests wanting to come out than a beach that hasn’t been recently improved.
There is still more to study, in other words, to determine whether or not renourishment is causing more accidents on average.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today
The Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. handles premises liability lawsuits against landowners, proprietors, and individual homeowners. Each has a duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe for those who have been invited there. When that duty is breached and injuries result, you can sue to recover damages. If you’ve been injured on-premises due to someone else’s negligence, call us today for a free consultation.