Massachusetts Premises Liability and Injured Children
Children who are injured on another person’s property are given special treatment under Massachusetts premises liability law. While adult trespassers who are injured on another person’s property generally are not entitled to seek damages for their injuries, property owners may be liable for children’s injuries pursuant to the “attractive nuisance” doctrine.
The “attractive nuisance” doctrine makes property owners liable for children injured by dangerous features they install on their land that may entice children on to their property. The reasoning behind this doctrine is that children, due to their immaturity and curiosity, cannot be held to the same standards as adults for entering a property without permission. Features such as swimming pools, animals and abandoned buildings may prove too tempting for a child to ignore, and they usually are not able to fully appreciate danger due to their age.
Property owners are required to take extra precautions to protect children from dangers on their property that are attractive to children. Simply posting warning signs is not enough to absolve property owners of liability. Depending on the circumstance, they must install locks, fences, barriers and other restraints to prevent children from being injured on the property, particularly if the property is in an area where many children are present.
If your child has been injured while trespassing on another person’s property, don’t assume that you can’t seek compensation. The issues surrounding property owners’ liability for children’s injuries is complex and fact-intensive, and you will need the assistance of experienced attorney to guide you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.