The Rip Tide

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Q: We went for a vacation and stayed in a beautiful hotel.  As advertised, the hotel was right across the street from a beach.  The hotel provided chairs, umbrellas, towels and a security escort service.  It gave out pamphlets that warned about sun exposure and crime on the beach.  They said nothing about surf conditions.

My husband went swimming at this beach.  He drowned in a rip tide.  I think that the hotel should have warned us of the dangerous surf conditions.  They must have known about these conditions, owing to reports of rip tide rescues and failures to rescue.

A: Under New York law, no jury question of negligence is presented when an innkeeper whose hotel is across the road from a public beach fails to warn of rip tides, even though the innkeeper encourages and helps its guests to swim there.

Many beaches are operated and managed by a governmental agency.  States customarily monitor surf conditions and issue warnings when appropriate.  No court will charge an innkeeper with the obligation to oversee whether the government is performing its function properly.  But if this beach was private, then your case is more likely to succeed.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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