Generally, property owners are not responsible for trespassers injured on their property. When an attractive nuisance is involved, however, they may bear some responsibility.
Attractive nuisances are equipment or property that could be both attractive and dangerous to curious children. An unprotected swimming pool is a classic attractive nuisance, but Florida’s laws specifically include “[a]bandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators, deep-freeze lockers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, or similar airtight units from which the doors have not been removed.” Other unspecified dangerous items include trampolines, power tools and lawn mowers. These items are considered attractive to children, and “a menace” to their health and safety—whether or not the children are trespassing.
Attractive nuisances and property owner liability
If you have any of these items on your property and a child is injured as a result, you could be held liable for their injuries. Liability typically hinges on whether:
- The property owner knows or should know that the area where a dangerous condition (or object) exists can be trespassed by a child;
- The dangerous condition or object poses an unreasonable risk to the child’s safety;
- The child is young enough not to realize the risks of this dangerous condition;
- The danger to the child outweighs the burden to remove the condition; and
- The owner failed to remove the condition or protect the child from harm.
If any of these dangerous objects or conditions exist on your property, it’s important to make the appropriate changes. For example, a swimming pool can be fenced in with a lock and an alarm. Power tools should be unplugged and locked in the house or garage. Lawn mowers should be safely stored in a locked shed or garage. These simple fixes will protect you against liability.
If your child has been harmed by an attractive nuisance, the qualified accident attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh in Bradenton, FL can explain your legal options. Call today for a consultation.