Generally speaking, property owners are not legally liable for injuries that a person sustains if the person was trespassing. However, under Georgia law, children are often an exception to the rule. If your child was injured while on someone else’s property, you might still be able to file a claim against the owner to recover damages.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine and Children Trespassers
Children’s maturity and developmental capacities might prohibit them from fully understanding the dangers or risks present on a property. So in order to protect children, Georgia adheres to a premises liability rule known as the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.
This rule essentially obligates property owners to keep their grounds safe and/or free from hazardous conditions that could cause children harm. If one exists, the property owner should provide reasonable means of preventing access to the hazard, for example, a gate preventing access to a swimming pool.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine also holds property owners financially responsible for any injuries a child may sustain if the child was attracted to a hazardous condition or object on the property.
Here are a few examples of types of hazards that might cause injury to children and fall under attractive nuisance doctrine.
- Swimming pools
- Large open pits
- Abandoned refrigerators and dryers
- Old cars
- Playground equipment
- Dangerous animals
Potential Challenges to Proving a Premises Liability Claim Involving Children Trespassers
Even though the law holds owners responsible for children’s injuries on the owner’s property, challenges often arise in these types of cases. The owner may take one of these popular defenses.
- Could not have reasonably anticipated children trespassers
- The child was old enough to understand the dangers
- Unable to take the necessary measures to safeguard the child without taking on a large burden personally and greatly restricting the use of the property
If your child was injured while trespassing on some else’s private property, speak to an attorney to determine what your rights are and to get help proving your case. For a free legal consultation in Atlanta, call the Law Offices of Jason Schultz. Contact us at 404-474-0804 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.