Beach umbrellas can be a great way to avoid getting a sunburn at the beach. But on a windy day, they can also pose a significant danger. A strong wind can turn an umbrella into a dangerous object, with the potential to cause serious injuries. In addition to beach umbrellas possibly being lifted out of the sand, umbrellas can also come out of outdoor dining tables or even outdoor store displays.
Lawsuits against individuals or business owners based on an umbrella injury generally allege that the defendant was negligent in properly securing the umbrella. Even the government is a potential defendant in beach umbrella cases. If the incident occurs on a public beach, for example, the government may be responsible, particularly if the lifeguard was aware of the potential hazard caused by the wind but failed to minimize the danger.
In order to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to protect them against an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant breached that duty, and an injury occurred that was proximately caused by the breach. The plaintiff has the burden to prove all four elements in a negligence claim. This means that the plaintiff has to present evidence that would allow a rational juror to reasonably conclude each of the elements of the claim is met.