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Lottie Michelle Belk is Killed by Umbrella in Virginia Beach

My hometown motivates me to work hard for my client and get results.- John Cooper

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Lottie Michelle Belk is Killed by Umbrella in Virginia Beach

We know the beach can be a dangerous place and there are plenty of hazards at hotels and swimming pools. However, a freak accident in which a woman was killed by a beach umbrella that was blown by a gust of wind has shocked Virginia Beach.

My condolences are with the family of 5-year-old Lottie Michelle Belk, of Chester, Virginia.

Although this event may be seen as a freak accident, as an experienced Virginia Beach premises liability lawyer, I know somebody is usually to blame when it comes to tragedies of this nature.

premises liability in Virginia

Police said Ms. Belk was killed when an anchored umbrella hit her in the chest on the Oceanfront Wednesday.

Police said they received an emergency call around 5:07 p.m. for a woman who was suffering from a cardiac arrest on the beach at 33rd Street.

The umbrella was meant to be anchored. However, a gust of wind picked it up and blew it across the beach, hitting Ms. Belk. These beach umbrellas are normally heavy and can be very dangerous weapons if picked up by the wind. Last year, we wrote about the dangers of umbrellas and patio equipment. Clearly, there was a failure by the party responsible for securing the umbrella. Winds were gusting at 20 to 25 mph. These are gusty but not abnormal conditions for Virginia Beach.

Ms. Belk was treated by medics for a life-threatening injury on the beach. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries later at a local hospital.

Police are investigating the incident. There is no evidence of foul play, according to police.

Reports of this incident leave a lot of unanswered questions, in particular, the question about what entity was responsible for securing the umbrella.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers we have a team that is dedicated to premises liability cases like this across Virginia. If you are injured at a hotel, a restaurant or on someone else’s property, the landowner, building owner, a company or someone else may be to blame.

See more about premises liability cases here. If you have lost a loved one due to the fault of another party, you often have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.

Griff O'Hanlon


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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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