In most states, there are special rules addressing injuries to trespassing children. In Tennessee, for example, there is the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” recently codified in Tenn. Code. Ann. 29-34-208.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
In summary, that doctrine holds that a land owner or possessor is liable for injuries to children who trespass if all of the following elements are present:
(1) The owner maintained a dangerous condition that was not a natural condition and knew or should have known that the condition posed a risk of death or serious bodily harm to trespassing kids;
(2) The owner knew or should have known children were likely to trespass onto the property, either because they would be lured there by the dangerous condition or because children regularly play on the property;
(3) The dangerous condition was not apparent, or children, because of their youth, would be unlikely to discover and comprehend the risk;
(4) The usefulness to the owner of maintaining the dangerous condition and the burden of eliminating the danger were significantly outweighed by the risk of harm to kids who would foreseeably trespass onto the property; and
(5) The owner failed to use reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise protect the children.
This statute does not create or increase liability or affect any immunity from or defense to liability established by other statutes or common law to which a landowner may be entitled.
Even Trespassing Children are Protected by the Law
If your child was injured on someone else’s property by a dangerous condition, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. Cases like this are very fact-dependent and are handled and settled on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation to help you pay for your child’s medical bills and other damages, even if your child was trespassing.
We represent injured children and their families.
The attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC not only know how to deal effectively and efficiently with insurance companies, but we are also experienced trial lawyers. We’d be honored to represent you and your family if your child has been injured. Please call us today for a free consultation at 901-372-5003. Or, if you aren’t a fan of the telephone, please feel free to email our team of injury lawyers.
We serve clients throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, including Bartlett, Cordova, Lakeland, Germantown, Collierville, Munford, Covington, Arlington, Nashville, Brentwood, and the surrounding counties and rural areas. Sign up to receive our blog posts via email.