Maryland Premises Liability Child Injury Lawyer

Many residential homeowners and community centers with swimming pools, play structures, and other areas that attract or are designed for children to use are legally obligated to take necessary precautions to prevent serious incidents and injuries. It is also a requirement by law to control the access of children to such sites, particularly those that involve swimming pools. If the failure to do so results in injury, including drowning, spinal cord injury, or brain or head injuries, then the property owner or the person in charge of the property may be held liable for the damages owed to your child. A Maryland child injury lawyer who understands premises liability laws can help you to file an injury claim.

Child Injury Lawyer in MarylandIn the state of Maryland, special care must be taken to protect any child that has access to an individual’s, organization’s or company’s property; no matter if the child is invited or not. Furthermore, the state’s “attractive nuisance doctrine” indicates that property owners have a responsibility to protect children from any condition that may attract children onto the property and present a threat to them. This applies to a number of situations including, but not limited to, swimming pools, old appliances left outdoors, unsecured heavy machinery, tree houses, construction sites, trampolines, and anything else that could lure the child. If you have questions about whether your case may fall under the attractive nuisance doctrine, contact our Maryland child injury lawyers for an initial consultation.

The law states that every property owner has a responsibility to provide prior warning if they are aware that children could possibly access their premises, especially if dangerous conditions that are likely to cause serious bodily harm or death exist. Determining whether the property owner or manager is legally responsible includes determining whether fixing the problem was low in comparison to the risk to a child. The defendant also must have failed to exercise reasonable care and/or failed to mitigate or eliminate the danger, or provide some other protection for the child. In the example of a swimming pool, the property owner must put up fencing around the pool with a locked gate.

The “attractive nuisance doctrine” requires that pool owners keep all areas of the pool secure from children who are not yet aware of the risks of drowning.

Liability for Dangerous Property

As it relates to injuries on someone’s property, children are entitled to extra protection under the law even if the child is deemed to be a trespasser.

Premises liability is the law that is used to determine whether the property owner is negligent, careless, or reckless and, therefore, legally liable for damages owed to the child or the child’s family.

Liability for Child Trespassing

Trespassing on someone’s property, in broad terms, means that a person has entered the property unlawfully. Historically, property owners have not been obligated to provide reasonable care to trespassers — with the exception of intentionally harming the person — even if the trespasser was a child. In addition, if the trespasser suffered injuries, the property owner was not liable to compensate that person for any harms and losses suffered. However, the “attractive nuisance law” has changed that.

In the late 1870s, the original view of trespassers was considered to be quite harsh by a number of courts, especially when it came to children who don’t usually grasp the notion of trespassing. This prompted the courts to reconsider and create the concession for children known as the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” Under this law, a Maryland child injury attorney must prove that the:

  • Defendant was aware of or had some knowledge that the child was likely to enter the property without permission
  • Defendant was aware of or had some knowledge that there was a dangerous condition that could cause serious bodily injury or death
  • Children wouldn’t be able to understand the risk of the dangerous condition
  • The mitigation of the dangerous condition or the burden of fixing the problem was considered less than the possible risk to the child
  • Defendant did not provide reasonable care or maintain safe conditions on their property

Usually, courts will look at the injured child’s age and intellect before making a legal determination as to the risk to the child and whether or not the child could grasp that risk. The court may also consider whether the defendant was responsible in safely maintaining the property. For example, a warning sign such as “Danger” or “Beware” might be enough for a teenager, but not for a younger child.

How a Maryland Child Injury Lawyer Can Help

If your child was injured on someone else’s property, you may have a viable personal injury claim. It is important to consult with a skilled premises liability attorney who can help you determine your options for filing a suit and your potential for receiving compensation for damages. Contact the seasoned Maryland child injury lawyers at our firm for a free consultation.