If your child has been injured in an accident due to a property owner’s carelessness, the injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston are available to help you explore your legal options.
Port St. Lucie Lawyers Skilled in Premises Liability Claims
Children are often drawn to areas that may be dangerous, such as swimming pools or trampolines, which are often seen as entertaining activities. As a result, property owners often owe a special duty of care to minors when they own these appealing objects or structures. When property owners fail to use reasonable care in protecting children from dangerous conditions, serious injuries can result. The Port St. Lucie premises liability lawyers at Donaldson & Weston help families of injured children pursue proper legal action against those responsible for their harm. Many injuries to children require frequent doctor visits and sometimes long-term recovery. Our firm is committed to ensuring that injured victims receive the financial support that they need to assist in their healing. If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, contact our office today to learn about how we can help.
The Doctrine of Attractive Nuisance and Injuries to Children on Property
Generally, property owners do not owe a high degree of care to trespassers on their property, but a specialized duty does exist for trespassing children. The “attractive nuisance” doctrine makes property owners liable for injuries to children on their property, even if they are entering the premises without permission. Under this legal doctrine, owners must take specific care to protect children from dangerous conditions likely to attract them to a property. For instance, swimming pools, trampolines, and broken objects are all dangerous features that may lead a child to enter a property.
Swimming pools are of the greatest concern to many Florida residents, since many homes, community centers, and other types of property maintain a water feature of some kind. The Centers for Disease Control has reported that drowning and near-drowning incidents are the leading cause of injuries for children, with almost 5,000 children being hospitalized yearly. Of these injuries, approximately one-fifth would lead to a permanent impairment. To prevent these types of significant injuries, Florida enacted the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act. Pursuant to this statute, homeowners must install at least one safety feature around their pools, either a fence or a pool cover. Failing to follow the law can lead to serious harm to children, as well as liability for property owners.
Responsibility for Children Injured on Another Party’s Property
Even if a property does not contain an attractive nuisance, property owners may still be responsible for injuries sustained by children while visiting their premises. Many unsafe property conditions, including lack of proper fencing or supervision, as well as other property defects, such as uneven surfaces or broken steps, can lead to injuries both to children and to adults.
All property owners are required to maintain their premises in a way to keep visitors reasonably safe. Business owners owe invitees the highest degree of care, and they are expected to conduct regular inspections as well as fix any hazards that may be found. Homeowners and others entertaining social guests owe a lesser degree of care to visitors, and they must warn of any known dangers. If a child is hurt on another party’s property, an attorney can help the family bring a claim for damages in a premises liability lawsuit based on negligence, whereby it must be shown that the property owner owed the child a certain duty of care, and that duty was breached, causing the child’s injuries. For example, if a homeowner has failed to install a fence around their pool, leading a child to fall into the pool and suffer drowning injuries, the homeowner would likely be found negligent. In the devastating event that one of these incidents leads to a fatality, families may pursue a wrongful death claim against a responsible party in order to receive compensation for burial expenses, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.