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When a Child Is Injured at Another’s Home
Having a child injured is a traumatic event in and of itself, but when the injury occurs at a place other than the child’s home the difficulty of answering questions regarding who is responsible for the costs associated with the injury compounds the stress of the situation. North Carolina laws allow parents or guardians to sue various people on behalf of their children to recover for injuries to children when the children are not in their parents’ care. Parents may have claims against more than one party in some of the most common childhood injury scenarios.
Trampolines draw children in like few other outdoor activities can. However, the potential for injury on a trampoline is as high as the appeal for children. If a child injures him or herself while jumping on a trampoline at another’s house, it could be the result of the trampoline itself breaking or the adults in the home failing to properly supervise the children playing. In the event that the trampoline broke in some manner to cause the injury, the child’s parents or guardians may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer for making a defective product. If the trampoline did not fail in some way, then the injured child’s parents or guardians may pursue a claim against the trampoline owner – and the owner’s homeowner’s insurer-for the child’s medical expenses and other damages. The owner of the trampoline may still be liable for the child’s injuries even if the child was on the property without the owner’s permission. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, property owners who keep potentially dangerous items on their property that would attract children but do not take steps to prevent children from accessing the danger without permission, such as erecting a fence around the area, are liable for injuries that result if a child does get to the dangerous area.
Pools are another common arena for injuries to children. Similar to injuries on trampolines, parents or guardians of injured children may pursue claims against different parties depending on how the injury happened. If the child was injured as a result of something in the pool itself malfunctioning, the child’s parents or guardians could pursue a products liability claim against the company that installed the pool or manufactured the failed equipment in the pool. If the child’s injury was due to negligent supervision of the owner of the pool, then the injured child’s parents or guardians may file a claim against the pool owner and his or her homeowner’s insurer. As is the case with trampolines, swimming pools fall under the attractive nuisance doctrine, so a pool owner may be liable for the child’s injuries even if the property owner did not know the child was in the pool if the property owner failed to erect some kind of barrier around the pool to prevent children from wandering into it.
North Carolina has a “one bite” rule for dog bite injuries, meaning that in general if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner is not liable for the injuries resulting from the dog bite. However, if the owner has knowledge that the dog is dangerous or has bitten someone in the past, then the dog owner would be liable for the medical expenses associated with the dog bite Children get injured frequently. Some of those injuries can be severe, necessitating costly medical treatment and possibly lifelong special care needs. If your child has been injured while at someone else’s home, contact an experienced attorney who can discuss your situation with you and inform you of the compensation that may be available to you and your child.