Property owners should be forewarned - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Property owners should be forewarned

May 21, 2004


Albany -- Summer time is here and Many South Georgia kids are out playing in neighborhoods. If you're not careful, children could wander on your property and get into something unsafe. If they get hurt, the law could hold you responsible.

The law is called the Attractive Nuisance Law, and it basically says if you have something in your yard that could draw kids and others to it and they get injured you'll have to pay the price.

Young kids from the Tiny Tots Daycare are enjoying a day of outside fun-- something to keep a smile on their faces and give their babysitters a break.

"We basically bring them to the park so we get their energy out for nap time," says Courtney Denson of Tiny Tots DayCare.

But Courtney is experienced enough to know she has to have her eyes everywhere. "If you just turn you head for split second one of them will run the street," she says.

And if these kids were to wander off and be drawn to something unsafe in your backyard, you could be held liable. Georgia's Attractive Nuisance Laws say if you have something unsafe and accessible that could attract children and they get hurt you'll be held responsible.

"Its maybe a dangerous situation or either a deep swing pool or something like that would attract people to come over and most likely children and they would curious about and look and come see," said Attorney Tommy Coleman.

And that includes anything from tools laying out to broken playground equipment. Even garbage can pose a safety treat. "It can be almost anything the child can mess with get hurt on," says Coleman.

Here are some ways to protect yourself and children-

  • Keep tools locked up and keep pool areas gated
  • Keep garbage that kids could hurt themselves with out of sight until the day of pick up
  • Also ask your insurance agent about extra protection against injuries on your property.

And for Courtney Denson wearing a pair of running shoes might help as well. "These guys make you run believe me," says Denson.

Attorneys say while every case is different. If kids get hurt ignoring locked gates or signs that say "keep out", the fact that you did the responsible thing will go a long way is showing a judge that you weren't negligent and tried to keep people out of harm's way.

If you're found guilty of breaking the attractive nuisance laws you can be sued for medical bills and damages and even face jail time.

posted at 5:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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