Going to the beach with your family is a great way to create lifelong memories that you and your children will cherish. However, should your child suffer an unfortunate injury while at the beach, your trip could end up creating lasting memories for all the wrong reasons. The fact is that beach injuries are actually quite common, and there are certain situations where parents may be able to sue and be awarded compensation for their child’s injuries. Nonetheless, the factors surrounding the injury will determine whether or not you can pursue damage recovery, which makes it essential that every parent understand their legal rights concerning these injuries.

Suing for Injuries Sustained on a Beach

There are a wide variety of situations where a parent may be able to sue the owner of the beach for any injuries their child sustained as a result of an accident that occurred on the beach. However, as with any other type of personal injury lawsuit, it is necessary to prove that the accident and injuries were a direct result of negligence on the part of the beach owner or any of its employees. Although this is true no matter whether the beach is public or privately owned, the procedure for filing a negligent injury lawsuit depends on the type of ownership.

Injuries on a Public Beach vs. Private Beach

Every state has its own laws and statute of limitations concerning negligent injury lawsuits. Depending on the state in which the accident occurs, parents could have anywhere from one to five or more years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, suing the government for damages is not the same process as suing a private citizen or a commercial entity.

When an accident occurs on a public beach, state laws may specify that you are required to file a Notice of Claim or Notice of Intent within three or six months of when the injury occurred. Should you fail to timely notify the state, city, or other responsible governmental entity of your intent to file a lawsuit, you will lose the right to sue and seek compensation. For this reason, it is essential that you speak with a personal injury attorney immediately after your child is injured to help protect your family’s rights.

Common Types of Beach-Related Injuries

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of accidental injury death in the world. However, drowning is not the only concern. The following incidents are common beach-related injuries and may allow you to sue depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the accident.

  • Lacerations and cuts by broken glass and other debris.
  • Injuries resulting from improperly maintained or unsafe structures such as playground equipment.
  • Drowning and water-related injuries caused by undercurrents, riptides, and other natural occurrences.
  • Injuries resulting from negligence on the part of the lifeguard.

Regardless of whether the beach is publicly or privately owned, the owner has an obligation to ensure that the conditions are safe.

  • Failure by the owner or employees to clean up glass or other debris could be considered negligence.
  • Slip and fall accidents or other injuries that occur due to unsafe equipment or conditions may also qualify as negligence.


Drowning or being injured due to natural water conditions doesn’t automatically qualify for compensation.

  • Some areas will not hold beach owners liable for accidents that result from natural occurrences such as riptides.
  • Some areas require the beach to post signs warning of hazardous conditions, or else be held liable if injuries or deaths occur.

Determining whether or not your child’s injury qualifies as a negligent injury depends in large part on the laws that govern the city or state where the accident occurred. For this reason, it is often beneficial to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer you can count on.