Children are precious and full of wonder. They are adventurous, and sometimes they find themselves in precarious situations. Courts sometimes used the words “tender years” to describe children, particularly in the context of what the law calls an attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is any object or condition that would tempt a child to trespass onto property.
Examples of attractive nuisances include discarded appliances, swimming pools, construction sites, farm equipment, trampolines, pools and fountains, and abandoned vehicles. The issue in attractive nuisance cases is that children cannot comprehend the danger of the object. In this situation, the law imposes a duty on the possessor of the land. The landowner is required to secure the premises using reasonable efforts to safeguard trespassing children.
As a threshold issue, courts will determine whether the possessor of the land knew, or should have known, that the attractive nuisance existed. Obvious examples include construction companies that fail to secure the work site, or owners or residential swimming pools that do not install a fence. Close calls include discarded chest freezers, washers, and dryers. Examining these close calls, courts will inquire as to where the attractive nuisance was located, whether the landowner knew its location, and whether they could have reasonably assumed it would be attractive to a child.
Another issue is whether the child trespasser could have comprehended the danger. Entering a railroad yard and scaling a freight car would be an inherently dangerous activity for a child. However, a court would likely find that the child could not comprehend the danger.
Depending on the attractive nuisance, courts will also apply a balancing test. For example, the cost and burden of securing the premises may be greater than the risk the nuisance poses to children. If this is the case, even if your child is injured, liability will not attach. It is important to remember that technically, children in these case are trespassing. Trespassers are generally owed the lowest duty of care by possessors of land. However, when children are involved, the law takes into account their comprehension and the attractiveness of the nuisance. In Florida, residential swimming pools are common, and owners are required by law to install certain protections.
If your child has been injured on the property of another, and they were attracted to the property by a dangerous condition, contact Bryan W. Crews today, your Orlando personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Bryan W. Crews will guide you through the process, and evaluate your claim. You may be entitled to damages and other such relief. Each case is different, and results are not guaranteed.