Are Florida Homeowners Responsible for Injuries Sustained by Uninvited Children on Their Property?
If your child was injured on someone else’s property, even if the child was uninvited, Florida law does not treat it as trespassing. When it comes to premises liability and children, a primary consideration is whether an attractive nuisance drew the child to the property in the first place.
The law recognizes the natural curiosity of children, and their immature sense of judgment, with the attractive nuisance doctrine. The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School defines this as a legal doctrine “under which a landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.”
The most obvious risks are backyard swimming pools, which must meet strict barrier and safety standards, but virtually anything can be an attractive nuisance. Consider the following examples:
- Construction equipment
- Abandoned refrigerators
- Piles of lumber
- Open pits
If your child sustains injuries because of an attractive nuisance, your Florida premises liability lawyer must prove that the property owner was negligent in failing to protect children from the dangerous condition by securing the premises. Therefore, if your child easily gained access to the property by climbing a chain-link fence, or if there was no barrier and the dangerous items were not secured, you would most likely have a legal claim against the property owner. If on the other hand, your child took extraordinary measures to gain access, such as bringing a six-foot ladder to get over the fence, the liability claim might not be successful.
It makes sense to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess your claim and explain your legal options for seeking compensation for your child’s injuries.