Property owners have an important responsibility to ensure that the conditions on their properties are safe for any person who visits the property. Property owners need to be even more careful when children are involved. Premises liability law is more stringent when children, rather than adults, are injured. This is because children cannot identify potentially dangerous situations as readily as adults. And, many children are not capable or mature enough to act in a way to avoid injury from hazardous conditions.
Are Children Considered Trespassers?
When a person is injured while trespassing on another person’s property, the injured person is less likely to win a lawsuit against the property owner. In many states, property owners are not liable for injuries to trespasses. In other states, property owners may still owe a duty of care to trespasses, but it may not be as high a duty of care as with invited guests. Obviously, property owners may not cause intentional injury to trespassers unless except in self-defense.
However, the premises liability rules are different where children are concerned. Children are given more protection under the law.
Therefore property owners must take greater precautions when there are potential hazards on their property and there is the possibility of children coming into contact with them. Landowners who are aware of these potential hazards are required to take reasonable steps to either correct the dangerous situation or provide adequate warning.
When Your Child is Injured
If your child has been injured on another person’s property, you may be able to hold the property owner responsible if:
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous conditions on his property and its potential for causing harm to children.
- The property owners were aware that children were likely to trespass and get onto their property. For example, swimming pools are attractive to children. Therefore, children are likely to trespass in order to explore the pool.
- The property owner did not place signs to warn people or take other reasonable precautions to protect children from the potential danger (e.g. placing a fence around a pool to prevent children from accessing the pool even when they trespass.)
- The measures to be taken to eliminate the danger are not as big or burdensome when compared to the risk that the danger presents to children (e.g. the cost of a child’s life cannot be compared to the price of fencing a pool.)
You should always consult with our experienced premises liability lawyers before you proceed to file a claim for compensation. Our lawyers will investigate your claim and help you determine the best approach to filing a lawsuit or negotiating with the insurance company.