Homeowners in Florida are required to maintain a safe environment for guests. This means repairing or removing any safety hazards as well as foreseeing hazards. However, this duty of care sometimes extends to unlawful entrants, particularly child trespassers.
According to the concept of an attractive nuisance, there are some structures the very attractiveness of which can pose a danger to children. If this danger is not foreseen, homeowners may be liable for the trespassing child's injuries. This applies to children below the age of six or seven because such children cannot yet be considered responsible for their actions.
Pools are perhaps the most common example of attractive nuisances, but anything that features water can be considered one. That includes fountains and wells. Homeowners are advised to install a fence around their pool. Fountains could be protected with an alarm. Toys should not be left around the pool.
In fact, all toys and playground equipment can be an attractive nuisance. Examples of the latter include swings, zip lines and treehouses. For safety, homeowners may consider laying down a shock-absorbing surface around swings. Treehouses should have a wooden ladder, not a rope ladder. Other attractive nuisances include construction debris, lumber, tools and old appliances. Keeping things out of sight and setting up appropriate warning signs is essential.
If a homeowner neglects this duty of care to trespassing children and indirectly causes an accident, he or she may face a premises liability claim. Parents of the injured child may want to see a lawyer to become more familiar with the concept of attractive nuisances. During a case evaluation, the lawyer may determine how strong the case is and how much the parents might be able to recover in damages. They may leave the negotiation of a settlement to their lawyer.