Owning a house, store, or other property carries its own responsibilities including protecting those who may step foot on the premises. If a premise owner fails to fix a broken ceiling tile or forgets to salt their parking lot during a storm, they may be subject to legal consequences.
In personal injury and wrongful death law, premise owners have a “duty of care” to provide a reasonably safe environment. They must protect anyone from getting hurt, and in severe cases, dying as a direct result of property conditions. If this duty is breached, individuals have the right to file a personal injury claim to receive financial compensation for their injuries.
While this may seem like common sense, it becomes more complex when factoring in children. Though a premise owner may not welcome children onto the property, they may still have the obligation to anticipate and protect against possible trespassing.
Parents who feel their children have been deprived of these protections should contact an Orange County personal injury attorney immediately.
California and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
California has reversed the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine which required premise owners to protect attractive features on their property. Even if the child was trespassing, the property owner may be held liable for any injuries. This is because it was their responsibility to provide safety surrounding these attractions. Examples of “attractive nuances” included:
While the doctrine is not held in California, other states and jurisdictions may still hold premise owners to this doctrine. It is important to be mindful of your area’s specific legislation to ensure you are properly protected.
Instead, California premise owners now have a general duty of care for the invited guests and those who trespass. The lack of the doctrine means premise owners have even more of a duty to foresee hazards and address them accordingly.
A good precautionary measure to take is installing a warning sign. Advising potential unwanted guests of risks may help reduce any future claims. Similarly, fences can be another obstacle to preventing any injuries on the premises.
With the Attractive Nuisance doctrine no longer relevant, premise owners are now held under the concept of “Foreseeability.” This means a premise owner has the duty to protect children from foreseeable hazards.
A premise owner must:
- Anticipate any foreseeable conditions that may entice a child to trespass
- Address any hazards that could pose injury to a child trespassing
Premise owners have the burden to prove that they did everything in their power to address hazards and provide warnings.
A parent may have the right to file a personal injury claim against a premise owner even if their child was trespassing. However, these cases are more complex. An Orange County personal injury attorney can help you solidify your claim. Your lawyer will prove the property owners were negligent in protecting children from foreseeable injuries.
How Age Factors into Premise Liability Cases
A child’s age can impact the personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. As younger children are less aware of risks and safety, they are held to a lower standard of care.
A premise owner should be mindful of risks that may be beyond a child’s understanding, even if supervision is present. For example, if someone has a swing set with broken glass nearby, they should anticipate that a child could suffer an injury. While a 13-year-old will understand the hazard, a four-year-old is too young to see a threat.
Personal injury liability can be complex in cases of trespassing. Say a neighbor’s 8-year-old son is outside and wanders over to the same swing set. The parents may try to hold you liable for leaving the hazard untouched when a foreseeable injury could be prevented
While it can be time-consuming, it is important to address any property risks. Some methods include:
- Closing off trampolines, pools, and other dangerous activities
- Fencing and barricading the yard
- Locking objects in sheds or garages when not in use
- Clearing the yard of fallen branches, broken objects, etc.
Filing a Premise Liability Claim
There are several things to consider when filing a personal injury lawsuit for your child’s accident including:
- Whether the property was public or private
- Public atmospheres such as government-owned parks may be more difficult to pursue but not impossible.
- Whether the child was invited or trespassing
- The age of the child
- The type of injury sustained
- Whether the premise owner was aware of the hazards and foreseeable injuries
- Whether the premise owner took proper precautions to protect the property
Personal injury claims are complex. Often, the opposing party’s insurance company will do everything in its power to reverse the blame. It is best to work with an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney as opposed to trying to resolve the matter on your own.
In cases of wrongful death, surviving loved ones may have the right to file a claim against the premise owner. Losing a child is one of the worst pains a parent can endure. While nothing can reverse the past, many find some resolution in receiving justice. Our Orange County wrongful death attorneys will provide you with a free consultation to discuss your case.
Speak to an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
If your child is a victim of a personal injury accident, you may have the right to file a claim. A premise owner can be held responsible for injuries sustained on their property, especially those that put children at risk. We can help you seek out compensation for medical bills, and any pain and suffering endured.
John J. Perlstein is a well-respected Orange County personal injury attorney with years of experience taking cases to trial. He will do anything in his power to protect your children and receive the justice your family deserves. The Law Offices of John J. Perlstein are also equipped to handle wrongful death lawsuits. We take pride in our ability to support Southern California families in the most difficult of times.
Whether your children were injured due to dog bites, slip-and-fall accidents, or other unsafe premise conditions, our team of lawyers in Orange County can help. Contact John today at (213) 252-1070 or fill out this contact form to discuss your child’s injuries.