Learn Why Property Owners Owe a Different Duty of Care to Children than to Adults

Any time a person allows someone to visit their property, that owner has a duty of care to protect those people. They are required to ensure that their property is in good condition. They must inspect it for hazards and repair any that appear. However, many people do not realize that when a property owner invites a child onto their property, they have a different level of care.

Keep reading to learn about this interesting topic and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.

Responsibilities to Adult Guests on Your Property

When a person invites someone else to their property, whether it is personal property or a business, that owner must work to prevent hazards that could cause slips and falls or other injuries. However, they are not responsible for protecting their guests from what are known as “open and obvious” hazards. These are hazards that a reasonable person should know to avoid, such as a large hill in their backyard. If a guest behaves negligently or recklessly, then the property owner is not responsible for their actions.

Responsibilities to Adult Trespassers

Of course, not everyone who enters your property is a guest. Some are there illegally. In most states, a property owner’s responsibility ends at not purposely injuring a trespasser. However, California has different rules. Here, the status of the visitor is less important than what led to the injury. The court will look at whether or not the trespassing led to the injury, which they will generally agree was the case if the person in question used the property in a way that was unreasonable or unforeseeable.

However, if the trespasser was just walking across your property and was injured due to a situation that would have injured anyone on the property, then you could be at fault. For example, if they were walking on your roof and fell through your skylight, then they would not have a case because walking on the skylight was not a reasonable use of it. On the other hand, if they slip and fall on your back porch due to a slippery substance, this could be the fault of the property owner.

Unique Responsibilities to Children

When it comes to a person’s responsibility to children on their property, whether or not the child is supposed to be there is not relevant. The owner has a special duty of care under what is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine. This holds that children are inheritably playful, they are curious, and they are not likely to truly understand dangers they are exposing themselves to. For example, while a danger sign might protect a property owner from an adult’s injury, this might not be the case for a child’s injury.

If you have been injured, or your child has been injured, and you believe it was the fault of the property owner, then we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.