Am I Legally Responsible If a Child Is Injured on My Property?
One of the top questions of property owners is: Am I liable is a child is injured on my property? The answer is not cut and dry; it depends on the facts surrounding your case. When someone is injured on your property, you are not automatically liable. However, if someone is injured on your property as a result of your negligence, there is a strong potential for legal liability.
When a child is injured on someone else’s property, there is a potential for even more legal responsibility if your property contains an attractive nuisance or you have agreed to supervise a playdate or babysit.
Negligence and Premises Liability
If you failed to maintain your property and someone is injured, you could be held responsible under premises liability. If a guest in your home slips and falls on a wet floor or a defect in the stairs, and you did not warn them about it, then they may have an injury claim against you. This is true regardless of the guests age. It is important to note that not every injury on your property can lead to a liability claim.
When children are playing on your property and one is injured, you can be held liable under negligent supervision. It is generally known that when a parent or person agrees to allow children to gather at their home, they are accepting responsibility to keep them sage. If children are trespassing on your property, liability may be not as cut and dry for the homeowner.
An attractive nuisance is something that is interesting and would entice a child to enter another person’s property. Common examples of attractive nuisance are swimming pools, trampolines, and playground equipment. The most common attractive nuisance for teens is a construction site. The courts require that the objects be man-made and require a property owner to maintain the nuisance.
There are Indiana state laws that regulate the safeguarding construction sites. Pools, trampolines, and playground equipment are safeguarded by local ordinances. Regardless of local or state ordinances, if you do not take actions to prevent trespassing children from injuring themselves, you may be held legally liable.
Protecting Yourself From Liability
The best piece of advice for protecting yourself is to always take precautions. While you are not required to childproof your property, it is important to take some basic actions to help prevent injury. Courts tend to punish those who didn’t seem to care or put any effort into encouraging safety for all.
Always follow state and local laws for an attractive nuisance. If you can prove that you were abiding by all local laws, you have a much better chance of not being held liable for injury.
When you use common sense and good judgement, you will lessen your risk for liability. If you see children hanging around your property, take measures to lock up any attractive nuisance. No trespassing signs can be helpful, but they are not an effective safeguard against legal liability.
Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
Children are particularly attracted to items such as swimming pools, machinery, and playgrounds. If you have these items on your property, always properly secure and protect these items to avoid liability. If you have questions or concerns about a personal injury that occurred on your property or someone else’s, contact our office for a complementary case consultation.