The family of Seth Richardson has filed a $500,000 Huntington Beach personal injuries to a minor claim against the city. Seth, 6, sustained serious burn injuries in April 2011 while at Huntington City Beach when he fell into a deteriorating fire pit that had a still smoldering fire in it. He sustained third-and second-degree burns on his chest and right arm, and he had to undergo weeks of treatment at an Orange, California hospital. The boy is reportedly continuing to receive medical care for his burn injuries.
Photos taken right after the Huntington Beach fall accident show that part of the concrete pit where Seth fell had deteriorated to the point that it was at sand level. While city officials say that its fire pits are checked regularly and that the ones in poor condition are replaced, Seth's dad says that the failure to properly maintain the fire pits caused Seth to get hurt. He also noted that there are no signs instructing fire pit users on how to properly extinguish their fires.
No one is tasked with monitoring the fire pits during the daytime, when they are usually use, and there are people on the beach. The city attributes this lack of supervision to staff limitations.
A civil claim against a California city is usually a precursor to a legal complaint. Cities that own the beach know that there will likely be kids and others who can sustain serious injuries in fire pit accidents. It is the property owner's job to make sure that the fire pits are in proper working condition, safe for use, and do not pose a Huntington Beach premises liability hazard. This includes ensuring that the fire pit is visible, properly maintained, and placed in a location where someone can't accidentally walk/fall into one.
Two other families recently sued the city for Huntington Beach personal injury over accidents that occurred in other beach fire pits. The family of Adam Eslinger, 2, is seeking damages. Adam sustained burn injuries when he climbed into a fire pit in August 2009. In addition to burn injuries to his hands, the boy also suffered "severe emotionally trauma." Autumn Williams, 13, who rescued Adam, also sustained burn injuries. Their civil trial is scheduled for next month.
In another Huntington Beach burn accident, a Temecula family is suing the city and the state of California for the second- and third-degree burn injuries that Chad Kanow, 11, sustained on his foot in September 2009. They claim that the fire pit was "obscured with sand." That jury trial is scheduled for November.
These four children are not the only ones to get hurt in fire pit accidents. According to the UCI Burn Center, it has treated dozens of patients for burn injuries involving fire pits since 2006. If you believe your injuries, which occurred on another person's property, or was a result of the owner's negligence, you should speak with an experienced Huntington Beach personal injury law firm right away.
Woman Tossed by Cop and Boy Who Fell Into Beach Fire Pit File Claims Against Huntington Beach, OC Weekly, August 18, 2011
Boy who fell into H.B. fire pit wants $500,000, OC Register, August 18, 2011
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City of Huntington Beach
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California Burn Injury Settlement Over Hot Nacho's at Disney's Magic Kingdom is Under Consideration, California Injury Lawyers, July 28, 2011
6-Year-Old Sustains Orange County, California Burn Injuries After Fall Into Beach Fire Pit, California Injury Lawyers, May 20, 2011
Huntington Beach Personal Injury Claim Seeks Over $500,000 for 11-Year-Old's Burn Injuries from Trip and Fall Accident into Fire Pit, California Injury Lawyers, March 17, 2010