Throughout Florida, families, and property owners have to make special concessions for children. Throughout the Florida Suncoast, adults with a proper sense of responsibility supervise children in the swimming pool, especially if they can’t swim. Parents who keep firearms in the home will store weapons in a lockbox, safe, or container that a child can’t easily open.
This is because everyone understands that children are still developing. They have yet to fully appreciate the rules laid out for them or even understand their own limitations, such as how an inability to swim can lead to drowning or how aiming a weapon at another person and pulling the trigger can result in injury or death.
And when it comes to trespassing, there are special laws here that leave property owners more vulnerable than they suspect.
Traditional Premises Liability
Property owners have a fundamental legal obligation that is known as “duty of care.” This means they are expected to maintain a safe environment for visitors and take reasonable precautions to ensure that safety is enforced.
Cleaning up slippery fluids from a walking surface is one example. Or ensuring an aggressive dog is leashed and contained so that it won’t attack visitors. If a property owner is aware of a risk on the property that could harm visitors and chooses to ignore the potential danger, that is considered negligence. That is premises liability if that negligence directly results in an injury, such as a known aggressive dog left unrestrained and attacking someone. If premises liability can be proven in court, the property owner is now financially responsible for the injury and must provide compensation.
However, when it comes to trespassers, these laws no longer apply. Duty of care and premises liability only cover invited members of the public or those legally allowed to enter a property for work purposes, such as a postal worker delivering mail. But if someone, such as a thief, encounters a dog and gets attacked by it, the dog and property owners would not be considered legally responsible for those injuries.
The Child Exception
Children, however, play under a different set of rules. Even if a child is trespassing and gets injured, it’s possible that a property owner can still get sued, even though the child should not have been there. Property owners are still considered responsible for a trespassing child’s injury if they have anything on the property that could be considered an “attractive nuisance.”
Attractive nuisance means some aspect of the property presents a notably higher point of interest for children. A swimming pool, a treehouse, or even an extravagance, such as a miniature carousel/merry-go-round, are examples of something that, should children see it or hear about it, would compel them to visit even if they weren’t invited. If a trespassing child is injured on a property due to the presence of an attractive nuisance, premises liability still applies.
If your child has been injured due to an attractive nuisance or standard negligence in the Sarasota / Bradenton area on Florida’s west coast, contact the personal injury attorneys who have won more than $500 million dollars for their clients, and get your free case review today.