Property owners in New Jersey generally decide who is allowed on their property and who is not. For people that are invited onto the property, property owners need to ensure that there are not any dangerous conditions on the property or at least warn them about the dangerous condition so they can avoid it. Generally, property owners do not owe this same level of care to trespassers, who have no right to be on the property.
For the most part they only need to ensure that they do not purposefully injure adult trespassers. This is not true though when the trespasser is a child. If the property owner has a man-made object or condition on the property, they could be liable for injuries suffered by children trespassers, if the following elements are met.
When property owners are liable for children’s injuries
- There is reason to know that children will trespass on the property.
- The property owner knows that the object or condition could seriously injure children.
- Because of the children’s ages they did not notice the condition, did not realize the risk in entering the property or that it is dangerous to interact with the condition.
- It would not be too much of a burden to protect children from accessing the condition.
- The property owner did not exercise reasonable care to protect children from the condition on the property.
Children in New Jersey can be very curious and many are not mature enough to always realize the danger involved in certain situations. Depending on their age they also may not realize that they are not allowed to go onto other people’s property. That is why property owners have an extra duty to protect children from objects and conditions on their property which could harm them. When they fail to do this, they could be liable for compensating the victims for their injuries. These are very fact-specific matters though and consulting with an experienced attorney could be beneficial.