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If a Child is Injured on My Property, Am I Liable?

Well, the short answer is, it depends. The fact that an injury occurred on your property does not automatically make you responsible. However, if negligence played a role, that’s an entirely different story. In addition, the rules of negligence are a bit different when children are involved. Read on to find out how to protect yourself from a lawsuit, and others from harm, due to premises liability and negligent supervision.

What is negligence?

Consider the following scenarios. In scenario A, an older gentleman with mobility issues injures himself when he falls on your dry, level, well-maintained driveway. In scenario B, that same gentleman steps into a large pothole in your driveway, falling and injuring himself. In scenario A, the fall wasn’t due to negligence. In scenario B, it was. When you fail to maintain your property by keeping it safe, you may find yourself at the center of a premises liability lawsuit. Contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

 

The issue becomes more complex when children are involved. Let’s consider scenario C. Your kids have friends over. One of the children is running on your dry, level, well-maintained driveway, when he falls and breaks his arm. A neighbor runs over to help the crying child. You are nowhere in sight. Ten minutes later, you return from a different neighbor’s house where you were having coffee. Even though the accident wasn’t caused by a poorly maintained property, you may be liable for negligent supervision because the child wasn’t properly supervised. In the scenario with the older gentleman, supervision wasn’t a factor. With the child, it is.

Attractive Nuisance

Another factor that is special to injury lawsuits involving children is something called an “attractive nuisance”. If your property contains an attractive nuisance, you don’t even need to invite a child onto your property, or be aware that he or she is there, to be found liable for an injury suffered on your property.

A swimming pool is the most obvious example of an attractive nuisance. If you have a swimming pool on your property, it must be properly secured at all times, even if you are not using it. As an attractive nuisance, a swimming pool increases your liability exposure. If you adhere to all rules and regulations, your risk of liability is much lower. For example, if a child sneaks in and drowns, but your pool had proper fencing, locks, a pool cover, alarms, and met all state requirements, you are much less likely to be found liable than if the locks were broken, the fencing wasn’t high enough, or a gate was open. In addition to swimming pools, trampolines and construction sites can also be classified as attractive nuisances. Contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Personal Injury Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If your child has been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. If your child has been harmed, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys will be with you every step of the way, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.