As a general matter, all property owners have an affirmative duty to protect those whom they invite onto their property, and many – if not most – Florida premises liability cases arise based on this type of relationship. However, landowners also owe a duty to protect trespassers in certain circumstances.
Under Florida Statutes section 768.075, the general rule is that landowners do not owe a duty of care to any trespassers who come onto their property. However, the statute also provides several situations where a landowner can be liable for even a trespasser’s injuries. For example, a landowner must “refrain from intentional misconduct that proximately causes injury to the undiscovered trespasser.” While this is an uncommon scenario, a far more typical case of landowner liability is under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
While section 768.075 clearly states that a landowner does not owe a duty to trespassers in most situations, the statute also notes that it “shall not be interpreted or construed to alter the common law as it pertains to the attractive nuisance doctrine.” The attractive nuisance doctrine is an old common-law doctrine that allows for a landowner to be held liable for a child’s injuries if the child was injured by an object or feature on the defendant’s land that is likely to attract children. A classic example of an attractive nuisance is a swimming pool.
Under Florida Statutes section 823.08, lawmakers have provided a list of objects that automatically constitute an attractive nuisance. Specifically, the statute considers abandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers or dryers, or “similar airtight units from which the doors have not been removed” to be attractive nuisances. The law also explicitly states that these items are to be considered attractive nuisances regardless of whether the children are trespassing.
Of course, other dangerous objects or conditions on a landowner’s property may be considered attractive nuisances under Florida premises liability law. Whether a landowner is liable for injuries caused by an attractive nuisance on their property, courts consider whether the danger the object presented to children was known to the landowner, the efforts the landowner has taken to prevent children from accessing the nuisance, and whether the child did not discover or realize the danger involved due to their young age.
Has Your Child Been Injured on Another’s Property?
If someone you love has recently been injured while on another’s property – even while trespassing – you may be entitled to financial compensation through a Florida premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Florida injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing injury victims and their families in all types of South Florida injury cases, including slip-and-fall accidents involving minor children. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.
More Blog Posts:
Establishing Liability in Florida Swimming Pool Accidents, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 25, 2019.
Liability in Florida Sports Injury Cases, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 14, 2019.