Can You File a Lawsuit If You Fall on the Boardwalk?

Summertime in New Jersey is full of people enjoying the sandy beaches and taking long strolls on the boardwalk. Many New Jersey beach locations offer boardwalks that can be fun for the whole family. Games, snacks, rides; everything to make a summer night unforgettable. Other things that might make your beach vacation memorable is that lifted wood plank that you tripped over, or the nail that poked through your flip flop.  Unfortunately injuries do happen, even on the boardwalk.

Public entities are usually immune from liability meaning they cannot be sued. However, there is a limited exception to this immunity for injuries caused by a dangerous condition. In order for the exception to apply, there are several factors that must be established. First, it must be established that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury. Second, the injury has to be proximately caused by the dangerous condition. Third, the dangerous condition had to create a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury that actually occurred.

Finally, there needs to be either a negligent or wrongful act or omission or the public entity had to have actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition for a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. The negligent or wrongful act or omission is generally something an employee of the public entity did, or failed to do, within the scope of his/her employment that created the dangerous condition.

Additionally, a claimant would need to establish palpably unreasonable behavior. This is a very steep burden a claimant has to prove as it is more than ordinary negligence. Palpably unreasonable behavior can be established when a public entity behaves in a way that is patently unacceptable under any circumstance. When it comes to injuries related to inadequate maintenance of the boardwalk, claimants have had difficulty establishing that a city’s practice of inspecting and repairing the boardwalk was palpably unreasonable. While personal injuries occurring from a public entity’s property can be more complicated, one should not feel discouraged from pursuing rightful compensation for their injuries.

If you have recently been injured while on a public entity’s property, whether it be in a building, parking lot, or even the boardwalk, and have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Ward, Shindle & Hall.