Woman Files Lawsuit Against Apartment Complex After Daughter Drowns
An Atlanta woman has filed a lawsuit against her apartment complex after her daughter drowned in a nearby creek. According to the lawsuit, the woman faults the apartment complex for not putting up a fence that would have kept the children from accessing the creek.
The little girl was playing with her brother and other neighborhood children climbing trees. The accident occurred when a tree branch broke sending the children into 6ft of water.
Elements of negligence
There are a number of issues here with this particular lawsuit. Firstly, the death did not occur on the apartment complex property. The plaintiffs are claiming that the defendant is responsible for failing to fence a dangerous area that was attractive to neighborhood children. Juries hate these arguments, and they don’t like plaintiffs coming to court blaming others for their own failures as parents. Had the parent (or any adult) been watching the children, one would surmise that the daughter would still be alive. As it stands, she only had other children to help her once the branch broke sending them tumbling into the water. So a jury will have to believe that the apartment complex is more liable for the girl’s death than the apartment complex.
Lawsuits like these are tricky because the defense knows that the best way to win their case is to come as hard as they can at the plaintiff and blame them. So to get a favorable settlement, the jury will have to believe that the apartment complex is more responsible for the woman’s children than she is.
Attractive nuisance lawsuits
Premises liability claims generally involve a property owner being sued by an injured victim. In this case, it isn’t clear that the apartment complex “owns” the creek. If the apartment complex does not own the creek, then how can they be held liable for an incident that occurred off of their property? The plaintiffs contend that the apartment complex could have put up a fence to prevent children from accessing the area, but that doesn’t change the fact that the apartment complex is being sued for something that occurred on property they don’t control. It’s likely that you would have to dig pretty deep to find a case in which a property owner was sued for failing to secure public property.
Nonetheless, the plaintiff is right that the apartment complex could put up a fence. The prospects of this case resulting in a major monetary settlement for the plaintiffs may be slim, but the plaintiffs could at least leverage the defendant into placing a fence on their own property to prevent such accidents from occurring again.
Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another party, the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law can help you file suit against the negligent party. Call today to set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.