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Can Florida Landowners Be Held Liable for Injuries to Trespassing Children?

Most Florida premises liability cases arise after a guest or customer is injured while on the defendant’s property. These cases generally proceed under the theory that the landowner either failed to warn their guest of a known hazard or did not take sufficient efforts to remedy a dangerous hazard that was on their property.

There are, however, other premises liability theories through which a landowner can be held liable for injuries occurring on their property. For example, under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a landowner can be held responsible for a child’s injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous object, feature, or condition of the defendant’s land that attracted the child onto the property. Notably, under the Florida attractive nuisance doctrine, a landowner can be liable for a child’s injuries even if the child was trespassing at the time of the accident.

What Constitutes an Attractive Nuisance?

There are two ways to establish that an object is an attractive nuisance. Under Florida Statutes section 823.08, lawmakers have enumerated several items that are automatically considered to be attractive nuisances. These items include “abandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators, deep-freeze lockers, clothes washers, clothes dryers.” Also included among these attractive nuisances are any other airtight containers from which the doors have not been removed.

Of course, these items represent only a small fraction of the potentially hazardous objects that could attract a child onto another’s property. Thus, a plaintiff may pursue a claim under an attractive nuisance theory for any other dangerous object, provided that the plaintiff can establish the necessary elements.

In Florida attractive nuisance cases, the jury must consider whether the defendant was negligent in failing to protect the child and, if so, whether the defendant’s negligence was the legal cause of the child’s injuries. This involves an inquiry into the actions (or omissions) of the landowner, but also whether the child knew about the dangers involved. Thus, to establish an attractive nuisance claim, most courts require that the child was unaware of the risks involved due to their young age. Thus, an attractive nuisance claim based on a 17-year-old who is injured after he enters a construction site will be viewed differently from a claim involving a four-year-old who wanders into an unfenced and unattended swimming pool. Of course, the outcome of each case depends on the surrounding facts and circumstances, and anyone considering filing a Florida premises liability claim should consult with an experienced South Florida injury attorney for assistance.

Has Your Child Been Injured?

If your child has recently been injured after playing on another’s property, you may be able to pursue a claim for monetary compensation through a Florida premises liability claim. At the South Florida personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana, we represent injury victims and their families in all types of claims, including Florida attractive nuisance cases. We provide free consultations to our prospective clients, and, because we work on a contingency basis, we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have sustained. To learn more, call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Florida Court Holds Landowner Can Be Liable for Injuries, Even Though the Hazard Was “Open and Obvious”, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, February 11, 2019.

The Importance of Naming All Potentially Liable Parties in a Florida Car Accident Case, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published January 23, 2019

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