When someone trespasses onto your private property and gets injured, you can usually argue you are not liable for the resulting damages because the plaintiff was never permitted to be there in the first place. However, this is not true of children and teenagers who trespass in order to see, play with, or gain access to something that interests them. Objects that may attract the attention of a child, and ultimately hurt them due to misuse, are known as “attractive nuisances.”
Examples of attractive nuisances are:
Florida’s attractive nuisance doctrine states that property owners must take appropriate steps to prevent children from accessing an attractive nuisance, especially when it can be seen from the sidewalk or adjacent properties. The steps required to lessen a property owner’s liability will vary from case to case, but they are assumed to be “reasonable.”
For example: Your child is walking down the street and sees a powered-on table saw on your neighbor’s driveway. No one is near the power tool to provide supervision. Curious, your child approaches it and suffers a serious laceration. You could file an injury claim or a premises liability claim against your neighbor for creating a dangerous attractive nuisance.
In another example: You own a pool in your backyard. You keep it covered when not in use, always keep all exterior gates to your property locked, and even hang signs to warn people not to trespass. A child sneaks onto your property one night and suffers near-drowning injuries. A court would likely not find you liable for the damages because you took reasonable and ample steps to secure your pool from uninvited guests.
Determining liability in an attractive nuisance case requires a clear understanding of the law and the situation that led to a child’s injury while trespassing. To see if you have a valid claim if your child is hurt on someone else’s property, call (850) 764-0383 to connect with The Pittman Firm, P.A. The personal injury law firm accepts cases from all around Florida.