Florida property owners have a responsibility to people invited onto their premises, either as guests or for a business purpose, to keep the property reasonably safe and warn them of known hazards.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
In some situations, a property owner owes a duty of care to trespassers. This happens when a property owner either knows, or has reason to know, that something on the property is likely to attract children. If such an attractive nuisance has, in fact, attracted children in the past, the property owner must take steps to keep such trespassers out. This is known as the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, where a hazard on a property presents a particular risk to children who may be attracted to it. It applies where the children are not old enough to fully appreciate the danger, and where the risk to possible young trespassers is greater than the “attractive nuisance’s” benefit to the property owner. Swimming pools are a common attractive nuisance. Construction sites present numerous attractions for mischievous children. Security measures to protect “attractive nuisances” may include:
- Signs or notices warning of the dangerous equipment or condition, although by themselves these might only encourage some children; or
- Fencing that is tall and secure enough to keep children out.