Children have always been attracted to swing sets and other outdoor play equipment. Inevitably, kids get hurt. And they can get hurt anywhere. Things get complicated when a child is injured when playing on someone else’s property. Who is responsible for the expenses that can occur as a result of an injury that a child incurs on a neighbor’s swing set? Is it the parents of the child or the homeowners where the incident occurred?
It is important to seek out a law firm with an experienced personal injury lawyer, who can answer questions concerning your particular case and walk you through the steps to determine liability and how to proceed.
What are the Responsibilities of the Homeowner?
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to exercise reasonable care for their visitor’s safety by making sure their property is relatively free of conditions that could be considered hazardous. If the homeowner sees something that could be hazardous, it is their responsibility, within a reasonable period of time, to correct the dangerous condition. If the homeowner does not attend to the hazard and someone is injured, they may be deemed liable for any injuries.
It is important to note that the responsibility of the homeowner can change based on the legal status of the person on their property. Obligations are legally different when considering guests, family members, solicitors, contractors you have hired to work on your home, and those attending an advertised yard sale at your home.
If someone enters your property without your permission, the homeowner’s responsibility to the trespasser becomes a lot lower. In general, the homeowners are not liable if a trespasser injures themselves on your property.
Exception to Homeowners Liability with Children
A swing set or other play equipment are considered by attorneys and insurance companies as attractive nuisances. Children are exempt to the trespassing rule and therefore homeowners must make ‘attractive nuisances’ that may be attractive to children, free of particular dangerous conditions.
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to inspect their property looking for conditions that could be potentially dangerous but are potentially enticing to children. If the homeowner finds such conditions, they must either:
- Display a sign warning of the danger
- Remove or correct the hazard
- Take away or correct the potentially dangerous item
If it is determined the child was injured because of an ‘attractive nuisance’ that was not remedied appropriately, the resulting damages are the responsibility of the homeowner. Bottom line is, if a child trespasses on your property to play on your swing set and gets hurt, if you did not take the necessary steps to keep the area safe or to keep children out, you as the homeowner may be liable.
How is Fault Determined?
If the child is playing on the neighbor’s swing set with their permission, then proving that the neighbor was negligent becomes the issue.
If the homeowner was aware that the swing set was broken and still let the child play on it, the homeowner is likely going to be held responsible if there is an injury. To prove who is at fault requires gathering evidence, pictures of the swing set, pictures of the injuries, statements from witnesses, and medical records from the injury.
Settlement for the injury is usually gotten through a claim from the homeowner’s insurance policy. If a lawsuit is filed against the homeowner, the homeowner’s insurance company will defend the lawsuit.
If you have any questions about a swing set accident on a neighbor’s property, contact a team of experienced personal injury lawyers to talk about the details of your particular case and how to proceed.