Child Injuries on Property
Children are prone to accidents. These can sometimes result in lifelong disabilities and a change in the course of a child's life with regard to the sports he or she may be able to play or the jobs he or she may be able to perform. In some cases, injuries on other people's property even lead to a premature death. In California, a child's parents can retain a premises liability attorney to bring a claim on behalf of their child if the child wanders onto someone else's property and is injured by a dangerous condition. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles child injury lawyers can help you explore your options.Pursuing Compensation for a Child Injury
California traditionally followed the attractive nuisance doctrine, under which even children who trespass on others' property and are injured by dangerous conditions could pursue compensation. The rationale was that property owners should be held liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions that are likely to be attractive to a child wandering through the area, such as an unguarded pool or junk that presents a risk. However, California has abolished the distinctions among the duties owed to different classes of visitors on property, and with them the attractive nuisance doctrine.
Now, California courts look at foreseeability to determine whether a particular accident should be compensated. The issue is whether the property owner used reasonable care to keep the property safe for visitors, rather than the visitor's status on the property. In a child injury case, foreseeability is determined by looking at whether the property owner should have foreseen children were likely to trespass, whether the property owner knew that the area where the accident happened would be dangerous to children, whether the child should have understood the risks presented by the dangerous condition, and the extent to which the property owner had control over the dangerous condition.
Under CACI 412, adults are expected to anticipate the ordinary behavior of children and use more care when dealing with them than they would with adults. Determining what a foreseeable risk might be must take into account the tendency for kids to "intermeddle." Accordingly, whether your child can recover compensation for injuries on someone else's property may have a lot to do with what the property owner should have expected about your child.
If your child is injured on someone else's property while engaging in a dangerous activity for which you signed a consent form, additional questions may be raised. The specific language in the consent form may be at issue. For example, a release may shield a business owner from liability for injuries arising out of the child's participation in a field trip, but it might not necessarily shield the owner from a premises liability claim, which is based on an unsafe condition of property.
Foreseeability is usually a factual question. The defense may try to bring a summary judgment motion in connection with a child’s injuries on the defendant’s property, but in most cases, this is a jury question, and it may be possible to leverage the defense's fear of a jury trial involving a child victim to work out a settlement. The settlement in some cases may be a structured settlement, in which payments are made over time.Contact an Experienced Child Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our Los Angeles child injury attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for an accident involving your child. We understand the stress and worry that parents face when their children are hurt, and we can provide aggressive advocacy. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form to set up a free consultation with an injury attorney. Our firm also represents victims and their families in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities.