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Children Are Especially Vulnerable To Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility that property owners bear when someone is injured on their property. It means that they must take all reasonable precautions to reduce the chance of visitors being injured, and if they realize that there is some element of risk, and do nothing about it, any injury that does occur because of that negligence is one they must answer for both legally and financially.

This is especially true when it comes to children. While adults have the experience and common sense to stay from potentially hazardous situations, children may not yet have developed this sensibility. In this regard, it is up to both parents and other adults in an area, to be proactive about maintaining a safe environment for children. When it doesn’t happen, the consequences can be life-altering.

A Moment Of Inattentiveness

In Hamilton, Canada, there was a recent example of a serious injury involving a child and premises liability. Children were playing on a vacant lot that was near some train tracks. The tracks were behind a dilapidated fence, and a train was present, but not moving. The children changed their locale, climbed the not maintained fence, and played on the tracks themselves.

One girl among the group was on the tracks when the train, without any warning, began to move again. The girl’s leg was caught under the train, and while the error was quickly corrected, the girl’s leg was beyond recovery. Two police officers, thinking quickly applied a tourniquet to the injured leg, which saved her life, as it delayed the bleeding and let the paramedics arrive in time. Her leg, however, was amputated below her right knee.

Precautions Are Always Important

When it comes to children and injury, it always safer to not make assumptions about how logical a child will be. A baby that has never encountered a fire, for example, may stick a hand in a flame through sheer ignorance of the consequences. In the same way, a toddler, or even an older child is not likely to stop and consider the possible negative outcomes of playing in a train yard with huge, moving vehicles.

In the story above, the railway company responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of areas with train tracks are now being sued for premises liability. The argument is that insufficient precautions—such as the dilapidated, easily climbed fence—were present and that the company did not observe its legal responsibility to maintain a safer environment, with more effective restricted access.

Talk To The Experts

If you are a parent, you’ve only got two eyes, and when you are visiting another place, such as a business, or a large retail outlet like a shopping mall, or even a public entertainment space, such as a fair, carnival, or another event, you are not always in control of where your child goes, and how safe that child is in a given situation. Sometimes things that are the responsibility of someone else, such as maintaining the safety of an amusement ride, are the professional, legal and ethical obligations of the property you have visited.

If you or your child or children are injured because of a lapse in this responsibility, you don’t have to “roll with the punches” and figure out how to help your child recover—or even adjust to a new, permanently handicapped life—on your own. The law is on your side, and if you talk to an experienced premises liability lawyer about what has happened, you can get an assessment of your case, and have all the options laid out for what to do to ensure that the negligence does not go unanswered, or unpunished.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Children Are Especially Vulnerable To Premises Liability

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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