City Officials Should Take Steps To Reduce Boardwalk Accidents

The wind can be relentless, especially in some geographic regions. The wind coming off the ocean, in particular, can pick up tremendous speed. Homes frequently suffer roof damage, thanks to stress caused by winds traveling at 50 mph or more. Seaside homeowners who decide to join tourists and others on the nearby boardwalk may discover even more wind damage. The ordinarily durable wooden walkway comprises the boardwalk can suffer degradation. Thick pieces of nailed-down lumber might become dislodged. Walking on a loosened boardwalk comes safety hazards, so care and common sense become necessary. That said, the local municipality has a duty to reduce slip and fall accidents. Any failures and omissions could open the city to a civil suit if someone tripped, fell, and suffered an injury. 

Not Following Through Duties

City officials cannot prevent the wind from blowing, but how the city reacts factors into potential negligence. There might be reasonable time delays before city workers repair things. People who decide to walk on a damaged boardwalk would be taking a risk. Still, some situations could potentially place liability on the municipality's shoulders. Here are a few of them.

  1. Lack of Warning Signs and Barriers: For example, not placing weighted traffic cones and yellow warning tape around the damaged section represents negligence. Perhaps barricades could have blocked street entrances to a particular part of the boardwalk. Maybe cordoning off entire sections of the boardwalk off would have been wise.
  2. Prior Poor Maintenance: Strong boards might not have a chance at handling powerful winds, but cracked, damaged, and rotted wood would be even less effective. If the city did not repair degraded sections, an argument might arise about its contribution to the damage. 
  3. Unwisely Lifting Restrictions: Maybe the boardwalk is safe for walking, but bike riding comes with additional risks. If the city allowed bike riding, skateboarding, and the like, officials could have made an ill-advised safety decision. Combined with a failure to perform proper repairs, the decision could haunt officials.

And be aware that even when a pedestrian acts irresponsibly, the city doesn't necessarily escape responsibility. Issues such as contributory negligence come into play. Again, banning pedestrian traffic but leaving hazards in place raises legal questions. Those questions may form the basis for a lawsuit.

Examining the Case

Slip and fall accident litigation often comes with many complexities. Therefore, anyone suffering injury should discuss a specific case with a slip and fall lawyer.