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Property owners need to protect kids, even if they're trespassing

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When a child is injured or killed on someone's property, that person could be liable if he or she did not do enough to protect the children. This is true even if the children were never invited onto the property and were trespassing.

The general idea here is that people need to be aware that kids, who may not fully understand all of the dangers they face, could be lured onto the property by what is known as an attractive nuisance. Adults need to do what they can to make that attraction safe.

The most common example of this is a swimming pool. Children from the area may be tempted to come swim at night or when the homeowner is away. Even though he or she doesn't want that to happen, the homeowner may still be wise to put up a fence with a locked gate around the pool. This is intended to keep the kids out so that no one will accidentally drown without supervision.

Of course, children could still climb over the fence, go swimming, and be injured or killed. However, a homeowner who has a fence with a lock has a better case when claiming he or she did all that was possible to prevent the tragedy, whereas someone who just left the pool open and accessible could be liable for not even trying to keep the children safe.

If your child has been injured on someone else's property, it's very important to know what legal powers this gives you. The homeowner can't always hide behind the excuse that the children were trespassing if the property was clearly more dangerous than it needed to be.

Source: FindLaw, "Property Owners' Legal Duty to Prevent Injury," accessed Dec. 15, 2016

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