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Trespassing Child Injured | Kid Hurt While Trespassing

If Your Child Is Badly Hurt or Injured While Trespassing

Your child may have a valid legal claim if he or she was injured by a dangerous condition or item on another’s property even if your child was trespassing. Ordinarily, land owners are only required to refrain from severe negligence or willful misconduct that would injure trespassers. In addition, once a trespasser is discovered, land owners have a duty to warn trespassers of dangerous conditions or items which are not openly discoverable with ordinary observation.

However, Florida law recognizes that children, youths and even teenagers lack the same ability to comprehend some dangerous conditions or items even when they are open and obvious. For the safety of our children, Florida’s “attractive nuisance doctrine” requires land owners to be more careful when they know or have good reason to know that children are likely to trespass on their land.

In the case where children are lured onto property by a condition or item that presents an unreasonable risk of death of serious bodily harm or injury, landowners are required to use reasonable care to eliminate the danger, be it hidden or obvious or protect the children in some other way.

For example, if your child or his or her friends are injured, be it broken leg or broken back, while using a bike trail on another’s property, then that land owner may be liable for the child’s injury. If the injury was caused by a steel guardrail stretching across the trail which was also part of the bike trail, then that land owner could be held liable for any injuries caused by the guardrail.

Additional factors must be analyzed however. For example, if the land owner’s burden of eliminating the dangerous condition or item is too great as compared with the risk to the children involved, then the land owner will not likely be held liable for the boy or girl’s damages.

If the child is old enough or smart enough or for any other reason understands the danger presented by the condition or item which lured him on the property and injured him, then the “attractive nuisance doctrine” will not apply and the land owner will only be liable for the child’s injuries if the land owner engaged in wanton negligence or willful misconduct or failed to warn the child after discovering the child was trespassing.

It is important to note that for the “attractive nuisance doctrine” to apply, the thing that caused the injury must also be the thing that lured the child onto the property. Of course the “attractive nuisance doctrine” will generally also apply if the thing that injured the child was hidden in the thing that lured the child onto the property.

For example, if a boy is lured onto another’s property by the prospects of swimming in a pond, and is drowned by a pump hidden in the pond’s depths, then the “attractive nuisance doctrine” will apply.

The bottom line is the fact that your child was severely injured while trespassing on another’s property does not mean that in all cases the land owner is not liable for the resulting injury and damage.

For more on child safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach child injury lawyer.


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