Every adult in society should feel responsible to protect children and many times the law requires an adult to take certain measures to safeguard children. This is because adults perceive dangerous conditions much more readily than children. We naturally expect stores, schools, manufacturers, and property owners to “childproof” their premises. Adults aren’t permitted to ignore the existence of children nor their predilection for curiosity. Consequently, when a child is injured, people look to the responsible adult(s) to determine liability.
In any injury case, proving negligence is an important factor for showing liability. However, children aren’t held accountable for their negligence since every child is negligent to a certain degree. Children don’t know better, and adults are required by law to recognize this. In legal terms, children can’t be held liable for contributory negligence. In fact, the laws and regulations protecting children assume they will be negligent.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
There is a legal doctrine that protects children. The attractive nuisance doctrine is recognized in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the law states that a property owner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object, structure or condition that is both dangerous and likely to attract children who may not be able to understand or appreciate the risk of the condition or object. Some examples in the law where a landowner has been held responsible for a trespassing child on their property, include:
- Swimming pools
- Property under construction or construction sites
- Electrical power lines and towers
- Ponds, streams, fountains
- Trampolines that are easily accessible for younger children
- Jungle gyms not properly protected
- Old cars;
- Old refrigerators;
- Old freezers;
- Old wells;
- Yard equipment
If it is attractive to a child and an artificial condition, the principle of attractive nuisance applies; and liability for any accident falls on the property owner. Swimming pools, trampolines, and yard equipment need to be behind a fence or in an enclosed structure. Other items on this list and similar dangers need to be removed or rendered inert.
Injuries To Your Child
If you child has been injured on someone else’s property, by an unsafe condition of the property or because of an attraction that caused the child to go on the property, or in any other way, you need to know your rights and the responsibility the property owner or company has for your child’s safety. Give the Pearce Law Firm for a free initial consultation today.