Children on Property
Children are often attracted onto other people's property while they are playing. They may wander onto single-family lots, areas of condominiums where they are not supposed to go, or apartment complexes. Unlike adults, children tend to assess risk inaccurately, and often they have not mastered all the rules of society. Like many other states, Florida law provides additional protections to children who are attracted onto another person's property and are hurt there. At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced premises liability attorneys can help families in Ocala and beyond recover damages when their children are hurt on someone else’s property.Hold Property Owners Accountable for a Child’s Injuries
In general, whether or not an injured person has a viable claim for damages after getting hurt on somebody else's property depends on why he or she was on the property. Florida requires that a property owner owes the highest duty of care to "invitees" and "licensees." As the name suggests, invitees are people invited to enter the property by the owner. The only duty owed to adult trespassers in Florida is the duty not to set traps. However, property owners and occupiers owe duties to children even if they are trespassing, under the "attractive nuisance doctrine."
Under this rule, a property owner or occupier needs to give warnings if he or she knows that children are likely to be on his or her property and that there is a dangerous, manmade condition on the premises that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or even death. Some attractive nuisances include swimming pools, old refrigerators or lockers, trampolines, or piles of rocks.
Parents or guardians of a child who is hurt or killed because of an attractive nuisance on another person's property can recover on behalf of their child if they can prove:
- There was an injury to the child caused by an artificial (manmade) condition on the property;
- The child was attracted onto the property as a result of the artificial condition;
- The property owner knew or should have known the artificial condition created an unreasonable risk of harm to children;
- The child lacked the ability to realize the risk; and
- The property owner did not use reasonable care to protect the child from harm.
Swimming pool accidents are so risky that they are covered by a separate statute. Florida's Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act requires that all pools, hot tubs, and saunas must be covered or have another barrier to protect vulnerable adults, such as the disabled, or children. When a child trespasses and suffers a drowning injury on an uncovered pool, he or she may have a claim of negligence per se. Under this doctrine, he will not need to prove negligence because it is presumed.Discuss Your Negligence Claim with an Ocala Attorney
If your child is hurt or dies as a result of a property owner’s or occupier's negligence or recklessness in the Ocala area, it is important to retain an experienced child injury lawyer. More serious accidents can have lifelong consequences and require expensive medical care and therapy. At the Dean Law Firm, we understand how important it is to secure compensation from the individual or entity responsible for your child's injuries. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent personal injury victims in Crystal River and The Villages, as well as throughout Citrus, Levy, Marion, Sumter, and Lake Counties.