Understanding Attractive Nuisance Injuries
On October 11, 1993, a six-year-old boy in Utah was playing hide and seek with friends at a nearby development. As they ducked in and out of partially constructed houses, the young boy backed into a hole in one of the floors, resulting in serious injuries. His mother sued the builder under the theory that the conditions were unnecessarily dangerous to the public. The catch? It was not public; it was private property. Ultimately, the court found that the partially constructed houses represented an attractive nuisance and the builder was therefore liable for the injuries. Sound odd? Well, here is how attractive nuisance law works in Florida.
Can I sue if I am injured while trespassing?
Are you an adult? If you are, then most likely you will not be compensated for injuries incurred while trespassing on private property. As with all things, there are a few limited exceptions. However, Florida treats children very differently in this regard. If a child is injured while trespassing, the answer is likely yes.
The law makes certain presumptions. For instance, a child is not as likely to understand the dangers of trespassing.
Why might a child be injured while trespassing?
As you might imagine, there are many reasons why people trespass. Adults generally trespass for unlawful purposes, such as unwelcome solicitation, theft, burglary, or various reasons that may have a criminal aspect. However, children are more likely to trespass for enjoyment. In other words, an adult trespassing around the construction zone could be stealing tools, doing drugs, or performing other unlawful acts, whereas a six-year-old is likely playing hide and seek with friends. As a result, property owners are required to take certain precautions to avoid child injuries. So how can a property owner prevent children from being injured? Simple – by not attracting them to the dangers.
What are some examples of “attractive nuisances?”
Not all property elements are considered nuisances. Primarily, this term is used to describe things that are highly likely to attract a child’s attention and contain some aspect of potential danger. The Florida Legislature has provided a set of things that automatically qualify as attractive nuisances. These include:
- Deep-freeze lockers;
- Clothes washers;
- Clothes dryers; and
- Similar airtight units abandoned or discarded.
Each of these items represents something a young child may be attracted to. Maybe they want to play with the item, hide inside it, or are just curious. But whatever the reasons, these are things that have at some point been responsible for death or serious injury. However, these are not the only items. Anything that presents a situation or environment where it is reasonably foreseeable that a young child would be attracted to it and where there is a specific danger, then you may have an attractive nuisance. In fact, pools were recently added to the list.
What to do if you suspect an injury is related to an attractive nuisance
If you know a child who has been injured, and you think an attractive nuisance may be the culprit, contact the Romero Law Firm in Florida to speak with an aggressive trial lawyer who can evaluate the facts. When someone is injured due to another’s negligence, getting compensation can be difficult. You need experienced legal representation. Remember, there may be strict time limits on filing a lawsuit, so call today.