Getting into mischief is part of growing up. At some point, most children will do something that they know they are not supposed to, such as going onto someone else’s property without their permission. Whether they jump the fence to pick fruit or visit a house rumored to be haunted, children interpret “Keep Out” signs as meaning the owner has something interesting to hide.
However, many warning signs are there for a good reason: There may be hidden dangers on the land. The trees in the apple orchard may have limbs ready to break, or the haunted house may have rotten floorboards.
What happens if your child is injured while trespassing?
Under Georgia law, people who enter others’ property without permission usually cannot file a premises liability claim against the landowner if they are injured. However, children can sometimes be excepted from this rule if there was an “attractive nuisance.” This legal term acknowledges that children do not have the same capabilities to assess risks as adults do, and some things can be too tempting for a child to resist.
Premises liability cases involving trespassing are challenging. The landowner might argue that parents should be held responsible for their children and that by erecting a “Keep Out” sign and a fence, they have done their duty.
As a parent, you may feel the property owner did not do enough to make the danger safe or stop children entering their land. You might argue they should have cut down the rotten tree branches or boarded up the abandoned house. Maybe the fence had a hole in it, or the warning sign had fallen down. A court will look at the specific circumstances of each case before making a decision. That is why it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney to argue your case.