One Boy’s Tragic Death Begs the Question: When Are Child Accidents Someone Else’s Fault?
The 11-year-old-boy who died on April 20th after getting hit by a truck while his school held a protest against gun violence has captured headlines. The boy was trying to cross the street to get to visit a park when he was tragically hit by a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
At this time, the police have decided not to press charges against the driver, stating that it was illegal for the child to walk on a highway and it is close to impossible for motorists to move out of the way of pedestrians on the roadway.
However, as more and more school walkouts are organized every day around the country—especially in states like Florida, where the recent school shooting took so many lives—many parents are wondering when certain individuals can be held liable for a child’s injuries or death; especially a child who was supposed to be under his school’s supervision at the time, or a child who is injured on someone else’s property.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
The attractive nuisance doctrine can allow for a landowner to be held liable for a child’s injuries or death after the child trespassed onto their land if they were ‘lured’ there by a dangerous object or condition that was likely to attract children. This is because, as a society, we understand that some children are often unable to appreciate the risk posed by particular objects or conditions. These conditions can often involve abandoned cars, construction piles with dangerous object or chemicals, swimming pools, etc. on someone else’s property.
The Law in Florida
Under Florida law, every property owner must refrain from intentional misconduct that causes injury to undiscovered trespassers, but has no general duty to warn of dangerous conditions. They must generally warn trespassers of dangerous conditions that are known to them but which are not readily observable by others.
However, in cases where children are hurt or injured due to an attractive nuisance, as plaintiffs, they typically have to prove that the:
- Injury or death was foreseeable by the landowner (i.e. that the property owner knew or had reason to know that there was a dangerous condition where a child might trespass);
- Condition is known or should be known to pose a risk of harm to the child;
- Child does not realize the risk, the burden of eliminating that risk was less than the risk posed to the child; and
- Property owner failed to act with reasonable care to either remove the danger or protect the child.
Florida Accident Recovery Attorneys
If negligence has led to the injury or death of your child, you should speak with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney right away in order to ensure that justice is done. Contact our Boca Raton, Florida personal injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help.