Florida premises liability law places certain legal responsibilities on property owners to use reasonable care in protecting lawful guests from foreseeable dangers. Trespassers, however, are given very few protections, aside from the duty to avoid willful harm. The primary exception, as our Fort Myers child injury lawyers can explain, is with regard to young children.
It’s called the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” Although trespassers have no right to expect landowners to maintain a safe property on which they can trespass, it’s different for young children. Unlike adults, it’s understood small kids lack the ability to perceive danger or make reasonable judgments about how to protect themselves. Therefore, if there is something dangerous on site that might be interesting to curious youths, landowners have a responsibility to take measures to keep them out and protect them from their own misjudgment.
As noted in the 1990 Florida Supreme Court case of Martinello v. B&P USA Inc., attractive nuisance isn’t a separate cause of action or theory of liability. Instead, it’s a doctrine that imposes a duty on the landowner or occupant to trespassing children that otherwise wouldn’t exist under circumstances of non-liability to trespassers. The exception is spelled out in F.S. 768.075. Continue reading