The extension of liability protections for Hawaii’s lifeguards has become a popular topic of conversation as of late. Since 2002, lifeguards in Hawaii have had nearly total protection against personal injury lawsuits for drownings and other mishaps; protections other first responders such as police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians do not have. Speaking about the protections afforded to lifeguards, The Hawaii Justice Association stated, “Only lifeguards are allowed to perform at a substandard level by providing them with immunity against negligent performance.”
Recently though, two bills were proposed to either keep or end protections for lifeguards during drowning incidents. With Governor David Ige’s veto of bill SB652, limited liability protections for Hawaii’s lifeguards will not be reinstated. Instead, the state’s Attorney General will be required to defend any lawsuit brought against the county based on any type of negligence or wrongful act. According to Ige, the attorney general will also “defend any civil action or proceeding based on acts or omissions of county lifeguards working on state beaches that are within the scope of the lifeguard’s duties.”
What Does This All Mean?
You now have the right to sue a lifeguard in Hawaii for negligence or wrongful death, including drowning. If a lifeguard performs his or her job in an unreasonable manner, you can seek justice for you or a loved one. Without immunity protections you can possibly seek compensation for:
- Financial Damages: Damages related to the amount of money or potential money lost as a result of the incident. This includes medical bills.
- Pain & Suffering: Damages that aren’t directly related to finances.
- Care of a Child: When an individual dies and is the primary caretaker of a minor child, the courts can take into account the financial implications of raising the child.
Have you or a loved on been injured or died because of a lifeguard’s negligence? Our skilled personal injury attorneys can help. Since 1971, we have stood up for the legal rights of injured people throughout Hawaii. Contact us today to lean what we can do for you!