Everyone has seen or knows about the movie "Jaws." It has inspired fear of the ocean in countless numbers of people all over the world. People just don't want to go in the water because they think that some frightening music will start up and a giant fin will accelerate towards them.
Something far less frightening happened on Ballston Beach in Truro recently, when Chris Myers of Colorado was bitten by what was likely a juvenile great white shark, according to the Boston Herald. Myers suffered puncture wounds on both legs and a severed tendon, requiring 47 stitches after he and his son had swam 400 yards offshore to a sand bar.
This was the first shark attack on Ballston Beach since 1936 when a teen was killed, according to the Boston Globe. The question remains, could Myers sue?
To recover for your injuries, they must have been proximately caused by the intentional or negligent acts of another.
Here, it is clear that there was no intentional act that caused the Myers to be bitten by the shark. That is, unless there is a new product that attracts sharks to human flesh that is still flying under the radar. That means that he would only have a claim for negligence if anything at all.
Negligence is the legal theory that you are owed damages when a person breaches their legal duty to you. That legal duty can be as simple as the duty to act reasonably around you or more well known like a retailer's duty to be sure their building is safe.
However, under Massachusetts law, any person that allows the recreational use of their land by the public will not be liable for harm to those that use it unless the person that owns the land purposefully or recklessly harms someone.
This means that the town or the lifeguards must have been reckless to allow a shark attack. Needless to say, it is difficult to say that anyone was reckless to not prevent a shark attack when one had not occurred in over 80 years.
Luckily for all, Chris Myers was not injured any more than he was and Ballston Beach in Truro stays open without the threat of a lawsuit from a great white shark attack.
For now ... (cue ominous music) da dum. Da dum da dum.
- Talk to a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Trapeze Artist Alexander Sotov Falls on Kids in Boston, No Injuries (FindLaw's Boston Personal Injury News)
- Court: Man Who Was Injured by Falling Tree Can Sue Newton (FindLaw's Boston Personal Injury News)