The Land Owner’s Duty to Protect Children From Harm
PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM FORESEEABLE HARM
The law imposes special duties on land owners (and those in possession and control of land) where children are involved. Specifically, owners of land (and those in possession or control of property) must take reasonable steps to protect children against reasonably foreseeable hazards.
While there is no duty to “child proof” property, or to ensure that property is entirely safe, property owners must inspect and maintain their property in a reasonable manner that protects children against known or foreseeable harm. This duty does not include an obligation to supervise children who enter property when accompanied by a parent. In such situations, the parent does have an obligation to supervise his or her child. However, the property owner does need to ensure that proper warnings are posted and that the premises are reasonably safe for children to enter–particularly where the property owner specifically invites (or should expect) children to be present.
Property owners should consult an attorney (or other specialist) to ensure that they comply with all relevant duties and obligations when it comes to property maintenance, warning signs, and mitigation of possible dangers. This is particularly true where the property is open to, or invites the presence of, children.
Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal claims. Speak with an experienced lawyer promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, possible damages, and options. You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses) are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other type of legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your personal rights and claims.