Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. is proud to announce the law firm has successfully resolved a lawsuit involving a falling gate that injured a young child. The five-year-old boy was playing in the yard of the house his parents rented when he slid a heavy metal gate open causing it to fall off its track. The boy tried to run as the gate fell but unfortunately it happened too quicklyand pinned him against the concrete driveway. He sustained a fracture that resulted in a two-week hospital stay. Fortunately, after several months of immobility, the boy was able to make a full and complete recovery.
In this case, the age of the child was a significant factor in assessing responsibility for the incident. In Florida, a child under six years of age cannot be held responsible for negligence. This means that no assessment of fault can be made against the child individually; however, his parents can be held responsible for failing to supervise. This law dates back to the Supreme Court case of Swindel v. Hellkamp, 242 So. 2d. 708 (Fla. 1970). That case involved a four-year-old child running into the street and getting hit by a car. The Florida Supreme Court stated; “In the absence of a legislative declaration, it is our opinion and we so hold, that the child herein involved and any other child under six years of age is conclusory presumed to be incapable of committing contributory negligence. This holding is compatible with the common-law rule that a child under seven is conclusory presumed to be incapable of committing a crime, inasmuch as a child must learn individual safety at an early age but social consciousness comes at a somewhat later age”.
The homeowner had no insurance. Apparently, the gate had been installed years before by a previous tenant and no permit was obtained. The owner of the property was advised by the tenant that lived in the house before the young boy’s family that the gate was not properly attachedand would fall when completely opened. Not only did the landlord not get the gate fixedbut they never warned the young boy’s parents about this problem.
During the lawsuit, the landlord blamed the young boy’s family for the accident and claimed that the child’s father was the one that installed the gate. Our lawyers were able to show through prior Google Street photographs, that the gate had been in existence for years.Our legal team also tracked down the previous tenant who had complained to the landlord about the gate not being safe. The case settled at mediation, right before trial for a confidential sum that will pay for all of the medical bills and provide for the child’s financial security once he is an adult.
At Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A., we represent victims of injuries caused by dangerous conditions on property. These cases, known as premises liability cases, often involve issues of construction, engineering, architectural design and property management. It is often necessary to work with experts in multiple fields in order to properly prepare premises liability cases for trial. If you have been injured because of a dangerous condition on a property, please call Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. at (305) 577-3777. We are available on a 24/7 basis and are bilingual. All consultations are free of charge.