Summer is here, which means that beach season is also upon us. A trip to Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Fire Island Beach or Rockaway Beach is an enjoyable way to beat the city heat and catch up on our sun tanning or the latest novel. While most days by the seaside result in nothing worse than sunburn, there is always the potential for injuries, not all of which are immediately foreseeable.

For example, in July 1999 a woman visiting Robert Moses State Park was injured when the wind blew a huge beach umbrella out of its spot and struck her in the forehead, leaving permanent nerve damage in her neck. Four years later, a judge ruled that New York State was fully responsible for the accident because there had been advance warning of windy weather and all umbrellas should have been taken down or secured.

Other common beach accidents include:

  • Falling: Puddles of water on indoor or walkway surfaces, broken stairs, cracks in the pavement, and debris left on walkways can all result in a slip and fall accident.
  • Defective equipment: The more popular beaches have recreational equipment such as playground accessories, picnic tables, and public-use docks, piers, and ferries.
  • Assault: Physical and/or sexual assault are always a risk in areas that are poorly lit and not regularly monitored by security.
  • Drowning: New York City Beaches witnessed 28 drownings between 2000 and 2010, many of which are attributable to riptides, which are powerful currents that push swimmers further away from shore.

Who is liable for a particular accident can depend on whether the beach is publicly or privately owned, as well as where the incident occurred. For example, the government usually owns the beach areas and any adjacent public parks while restaurants and retail stores will be owned privately. In some instances, more than one party could be liable for a victim’s injuries.

If at least one of the defendants is a government entity, then there is a limited amount of time to file a claim against them. New York law requires plaintiffs to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days after the date of the accident. Missing this window will result in the person losing their right to seek compensation.

If you were injured while visiting one of New York’s public beaches, then contact a personal injury attorney who can assist you in filing a claim for compensation within the required time period. Your attorney will also help collect the evidence, pinpoint which party or parties were at fault for the accident, and build a solid argument for your case. Experienced legal counsel is your best way of getting the damages you need to treat your injuries and sustain you on the road to recovery.

Jayson Lutzky is an accident and personal injury lawyer with more than 34 years of experience. He has helped many highly satisfied clients over the past 34+ years. If you were injured at a beach, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation. Visit to learn more.