In most instances, someone who gets injured while trespassing on another person's property can't sue the property owner for damages. However, there is one exception: children who are injured due to an attractive nuisance on a property. If your child was injured on another person's property, ask a personal injury attorney if you're eligible to file a lawsuit on your child's behalf.
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Under the law, an attractive nuisance is an element of a property that a child might be enticed to use or explore, possibly endangering them in the process. Some common examples include:
- Swimming pools
- Water features
- Supplies for remodeling or construction
- Parked cars
If a small child could potentially be injured or killed by a condition on a residential or commercial property, then that opens the property owner up to a premises liability issue. A personal injury could argue that the property owner could have prevented your child's injury if they had upheld their duty of care.
What Are a Property Owner's Duties Under the Law?
For a successful personal injury lawsuit, it must be proven that the property owner knew or should have known about the attractive nuisance and didn't take measures to prevent a child from being injured. For example, a property owner could put a secure fence around a swimming pool or make sure a parked car is completely locked to ensure that wandering children can't gain access. Simply putting a warning sign up is not typically enough to waive a property owner's liability because small children may not be able to read or understand the risk. Property owners are expected to understand that their belongings and even discarded items could invite children to play in a dangerous environment.
Can You Sue for Damages?
It's possible that homeowner's insurance or business liability insurance will cover your child's medical bills and other expenses incurred due to their injury. However, if the policy limits do not cover all your expenses, then you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. Your civil suit might seek compensation for medical costs and other actual damages that you incurred in treating your child's injury.
If the property owner's negligence was severe, you might be able to include punitive damages in the personal injury lawsuit. This means adding a dollar amount above and beyond the costs you incurred in order to deter the property owner from ever allowing such a serious incident to occur again. Your personal injury attorney can help you assess whether seeking punitive damages is appropriate in your case.