Children on Property
A careless property owner or business proprietor may be held liable for injuries that occur due to an unsafe condition on his or her premises. While both adults and children may recover in these lawsuits, the rights of children are broader than those of adults. If your child has been hurt as a result of an unsafe condition on another person’s property, contact the premises liability attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm for a free consultation. John Cassisi has many years of experience representing injured children in Queens and elsewhere in New York.Dangerous Property Conditions Can Cause Serious Harm
Premises liability cases are often referred to as “slip and fall” cases. A common example involves a customer at a grocery store who is hurt after stumbling over spilled food. However, premises liability covers a much broader spectrum of situations and can involve any dangerous condition on property, such as open ditches, falling objects, or faulty stair rails.
Like other negligence cases, a premises liability case rests on four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Generally, property owners have a duty to all customers, patrons, or guests to keep their premises free of known hazards, or to otherwise warn or protect people from these hazards. Unfortunately, they often fail to fulfill this duty, and others may be injured as a result. When this happens, the property owner may be held liable for all of the damages that were caused by the breach.
In most situations, a property owner does not owe a similar duty to trespassers, or anyone who is not upon the property lawfully. But there are exceptions. A property owner may not intentionally hurt a trespasser, and he or she may be liable for failing to protect people who are known to regularly trespass on the premises. Moreover, when a child trespasses, the landowner has a duty to prevent the child from harm brought about through an “attractive nuisance” on the property.The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Protects Children
Children are naturally curious and frequently incautious. The attractive nuisance doctrine is a special rule designed to protect children from dangerous property features that are especially attractive or inviting to them. Some examples include:
- Railroad yards and turntables
- Swimming pools
- Construction sites and equipment
- Man-made ponds or other water features
- Wells, tunnels, and bridges
- Abandoned vehicles
- Discarded appliances
- Farm equipment
New York law recognizes that property features such as these are particularly enticing to children, who may not be able to appreciate the dangers they pose. When an attractive nuisance poses a risk of children being hurt or killed, the property owner must take steps to prevent children from being able to access the dangerous area.
In these types of cases, a court will weigh several factors to determine whether a property owner should be held liable. An important part of the inquiry will consider whether the owner should have anticipated that this area would attract children. Another issue to consider is whether the child knew or should have recognized the danger. If the property feature is manmade or specifically designed by the owner, the child is more likely to recover compensation. The same is true if the feature presents a foreseeably serious and unreasonable risk of harm.Legal Guidance for Injury Lawsuits in New York
When children are injured on another person’s property due to a dangerous condition, the property owner may be held liable for all the damages caused, including medical costs or pain and suffering. If this has happened to your youngster, contact the New York injury lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm at (718) 441-5050, or use our online form to set up a free, confidential consultation. We proudly serve clients in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn as well as in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.