When you visit the beach, you would think that the ocean is where you need to practice the most caution, what with all the vicious sharks or powerful waves. But, there’s one danger on land that many people may not see as a threat: umbrellas.
When the ocean breeze picks up, there’s a high chance for these everyday objects to take flight and strike unsuspecting beachgoers. Flying umbrella accidents may also be more common than you might think.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, almost 3,000 Americans are rushed to the emergency room annually because of umbrella-related injuries.
Flying umbrellas can cause significant liability to individuals, including neck injuries, blindness from spokes, and even spinal cord damage. Beach umbrellas aren’t the only ones that cause harm. Patio umbrellas, typically larger and sturdy, can be just as harmful if they take flight.
The medical bills associated with these severe injuries can be a financial headache for the victim, which does nothing for their recovery. Thankfully, victims of flying umbrella accidents need not sit idly by. A personal injury attorney can evaluate the legal liability of the accident.
Understanding Umbrella Accident Liabilities
While you may think that umbrella accidents are “accidents,” that doesn’t mean someone can’t be held accountable for them. After all, people could have prevented these accidents if certain procedures had been followed. Certain factors with the umbrella itself can play a significant role in determining liability.
Here are the following elements in determining liability in a personal injury case:
- A legal duty that the defendant owed to the victim
- Breach of that duty by the defendant
- The victim sustained injuries because of the breach of duty
- Proof that the breach caused the injuries
An example is whether or not a restaurant owner securely installed the patio umbrella for their al fresco dining area; they could be held liable for that. Alternatively, the umbrella manufacturer may have intentionally sold a defective product, which can be a legal concern.
A personal injury attorney can help ease the tedious process of assessing liability. However, there are also things that you can do to prevent further potential accidents.
Staying Safe with Umbrellas
When you’re using a beach umbrella, for instance, it would be safer to tilt the umbrella towards the direction of the wind, not the sun necessarily. Planting the umbrella in a hole around 18-inches deep would also help keep it secure.
There are precautions when using patio umbrellas. For instance, you could consider using a heavy-duty base to pin it down to the ground. It would also help to place the umbrella near certain objects and use brackets and screws to stabilize it.
Umbrellas aren’t entirely deadly objects. While going out during the summer or rainy weather, an umbrella could be just what you need to get through the day comfortably. However, it’s still essential to understand how to practice caution around them.
The infographic below contains everything you need to learn about flying umbrellas, liability assessments, and more tips to protect yourself.