It is an unfortunate and specially sad fact of life that small children continue to lose their lives in Florida when they wonder into a backyard swimming pool and drown. A few days ago in Orlando, a 4 year-old boy somehow gained access to a neighbor’s backyard and was found by police face-down in the pool. According to newstalkflorida.com, police officers were near his house on an unrelated call when the boy’s mother approached them saying that her son was missing. Officers attempted CPR on the child, who was immediately transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is part of Tort Law. It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing onto his land if the injury is caused by hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. Over time, landowners have been held liable under this doctrine for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines and swimming pools.
Plaintiffs must meet the following five conditions to prove that a landowner is liable under the doctrine:
- That there is a dangerous condition to children on the land that the landowner should have been aware of;
- That the owner knows or should have known that children often wonder in the area where the dangerous condition is located;
- That the condition is dangerous and can likely cause injury or death to children because they cannot appreciate the risk;
- That the utility to the landowner of maintaining the condition and expense of fixing the dangerous condition are minimal when compared to the risk it posses to children; and
- That the landowner has failed to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the dangerous condition or adequately protect the children.