Children and “Attractive Nuisance” In Florida Accidents
Children, especially young children, have a remarkable ability to go exactly where they should not be and do things that they should not be doing. This can lead to serious injury if a child manages to get onto another person’s property, where they do not know of any dangers that might be present there. However, if your child is injured on another person’s property, you may be able to obtain compensation on their behalf to help with medical bills, especially if it can be shown that the property owner breached the duty of care that they owe to visitors.
Incidents where someone visits another person’s land (or business, or home, or any other private space) are governed by the Florida law of premises liability. Premises liability law sets out three different categories of people who might visit another person’s land, and each category comes with a different duty of care – in other words, the landowner has different requirements to fulfill before the land can be said to be safe for visitors. Taking certain steps might make the land safe for trespassers, for example, but not invitees.
The three categories are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Invitees generally visit the premises due to some business purpose with the owner, such as a customer at a store; a licensee is a person who comes to the land for their own purpose, like a door-to-door salesman; and a trespasser is only permitted on the land at sufferance (in other words, they are not supposed to be there). The only duty that a landowner owes to a trespasser is to refrain from intentionally injuring them: however, this is not the case for children.
Child Trespassers and Attractive Nuisances
Child trespassers are different than adult trespassers in that they are given a bit more legal leeway because they often cannot understand why their actions were wrong. This is doubly so if a child is held to have trespassed on someone else’s land because of an attractive nuisance. In Florida, an attractive nuisance is an object or natural feature on a person’s land that is likely to attract children, despite any danger it might possess – the legislature has listed several objects that qualify, though the list is not exhaustive.
Because an attractive nuisance is ‘attractive,’ a child may attempt to go investigate regardless of the potential danger in the situation. If that happens, and the child is injured, the landowner’s liability is in question – the court must evaluate whether the landowner knew or had reason to know of the danger, as well as any steps they took to correct the potential problem. The child’s parent or parents can bring suit as a “next friend,” meaning that you can stand in for your child in court while protecting their rights, but having an attorney on your side is still a good idea.
Call A Tampa Child Injury Attorney
If your child is injured, it can be traumatizing to both them and to you as a parent. The Tampa premises liability attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are ready to try and help your family get through what can be a drawn-out and exhausting process. We can offer you dedicated and compassionate representation – call us for a free consultation today.