Children on Property
Children may face elevated risks on other people's property. Unlike adults, they may fail to appreciate the risk of injury due to a dangerous property condition. They also may not understand boundaries or warning signs. The law protects children who are lawfully visiting a property as customers or patrons, just as it protects adults, and it also recognizes that trespassing children on property may be hurt because of their inability to understand and avoid a dangerous situation. Landowners owe children a certain duty of care that is not owed to adults in the same situation. The premises liability attorneys at Feizy Law Office can assist Dallas residents in seeking compensation for injuries suffered by their children.Pursuing Damages for Accidents Involving Children
Texas businesses owe a duty to invitees to keep their property reasonably safe. This means that they must either repair a dangerous property condition about which they have actual or constructive knowledge, or post warning signs about it. Constructive knowledge exists when a landlord could have discovered something if he or she reasonably inspected the property. Invitees are people who are on the property for a business reason, such as customers at a retail store or people eating at a restaurant. The same duty is owed to children whose parents are on the property for a commercial reason. In general, adult trespassers are not owed the same duty as invitees. The only duty a landowner has is not to set traps or intentionally or willfully hurt them. However, landowners may be subject to the attractive nuisance doctrine if the injured trespasser is a child.
This doctrine applies when:
- The defendant knew or should have known that there is an artificial condition on the land, such as a large irrigation pipe or open swimming pool, and children are likely to trespass;
- The defendant knew or should have known this artificial condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm or death to children;
- The child did not realize the risk because of his or her age;
- The usefulness of the defendant maintaining the artificial condition and the burden of removing it were slight compared to the risk to children; and
- The defendant's failure to exercise reasonable care to remove the danger or protect the child caused the accident.
Many of these elements are fact-specific. For example, the third element must take into account the child's age, mental capacity, or maturity. Most cases apply the doctrine to children 12 or younger. Moreover, different rules apply to natural dangers, such as wild animals.
If you signed a pre-injury waiver or release before your child was hurt on a commercial property, such as a waiver for play space, your signature may not be enforceable as a waiver of your child's rights. However, different rules may apply to a waiver for a nonprofit community or school program, as opposed to a commercial enterprise.Discuss Your Injury Claim with a Dallas Attorney
For most parents, injuries to their children are a nightmare. For experienced representation of your child after an accident in Dallas or the surrounding cities, you should retain an injury lawyer who understands not only how the law works with respect to a child accident victim in many different situations, but also one who understands the potential long-term impact of a serious injury to a child. How much is recovered in a personal injury case depends in part on an attorney's understanding of the full range of harm experienced by an accident victim. The harms are not just what is immediately apparent, but also the long-term impact of injuries sustained during childhood. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form. We also represent injured children in Fort Worth, Irving, Arlington, Garland, and Plano, among other Texas cities.