With the summer season before us, many families are getting their yards, pools, trampolines, ready for family fun. As we all know, accidents can and will happen and children are drawn to certain structures—namely, trampolines.
Understanding whether or not you’re liable for an accident can get complicated, as anything in personal injury law can. Luckily, JD Haas, your Minneapolis team of personal injury lawyers, is here to help. Below, we’ll dive into the laws surrounding attractive nuisances, trampolines, and how to keep yourself out of legal trouble so you can keep having fun in the sun this summer.
Is the Landowner Liable?
Here in Minnesota, whether or not a landowner is liable for injuries on their property is based on a concept known as landowner liability. This doctrine is predicated on what type of visitor to the property has been injured. It involves invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Landowners generally have a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition that they owe to those that are invited onto the premises, as established in Peterson v Balach, 199 N.W.2d 639, 647-648) (Minn. 1972)
Trespassers: The (General) Exception to Landowner Liability
Trespassers are an exception to the landowner’s duty of reasonable care mentioned above, though there are instances where a landowner may be held liable for trespasser injuries.
For instance, landowners may be held liable for the injuries of trespassing children under the attractive nuisance theory. Under this theory, a landowner is liable for such injuries if he or she has actual or constructive knowledge of an unreasonable risk of injury (such as an artificial condition or structure that a child is too young to understand or appreciate). The courts have been loose in their application of this principle, as demonstrated in Sengoles v Carlson, 902 N.W 2d 38, 47 (Minn. 2017)
What Entails Landowner Negligence in Relation to Attractive Nuisances?
A landowner who keeps a structure or other artificial condition on property that causes injury to a trespassing child is negligent when all of the following conditions are met:
1. The possessor knows, or has reason to know, children are likely to trespass on the property at the place where the condition exists, and
2. The possessor knows, or has reason to know, that this condition exists, and
3. The possessor realizes or should realize that this condition involves an unreasonable risk of death or serious injury to children, and
4. The children are too young at the time of the accident to understand the risk of playing with, or being near, the hazard or do not discover the condition, and
5. The benefits to the possessor of keeping the structure or artificial condition as it and the burden of eliminating it are slight compared with the risk to the children, and
6. The possessor does not use reasonable care to get rid of the danger or protect the children.
For the purposes of attractive nuisance, the courts may define a child as a person under seventeen (17) years of age, as determined by the facts, per Hughs v Quarve & Anderson Co., 338 N.W. 2d 422, 424 (Minn. 1983).
I’m Afraid I May Need Legal Help
Take a deep breath; we at JD Haas are here to help. As a renowned Minneapolis personal injury attorney team, we’ve helped countless clients just like you sort out the complex legal situations we’ve outlined above. Through compassion and intelligence, we strive to bring justice to those who need it most.
It’s important to note that we don’t just help with lawsuits. Our talented team of injury attorneys is also skilled with working with insurance companies and dealing with arbitrations. With our wide breadth of expertise, we’ll help you get on the right track.
Taking the First Steps
First, please use our free, no-obligation injury lawyer case evaluation form and tell us a bit about the situation you’ve found yourself in. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can about whether or not your case is viable and if we can help. Because our law firm is small, we can give the personal sort of attention to you that your case deserves, and we prioritize creating relationships with our clients. No matter if you’re working with us for the long haul or just beginning with your evaluation, you can breathe easy knowing you’ll always be treated gently and with respect.
JD Haas: Compassionate, Customer-Oriented Personal Injury Lawyers
Don’t know where to turn when legal problems loom on the horizon? Our team is here to hear your case and your story. Reach our Minneapolis office today at 952-345-1025. In addition to Minneapolis, we also serve Saint Paul, Rochester, and Bloomington.