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Premises liability toward children

Massachusetts state law provides special provisions regarding premises liability in relation to children less than six years of age. In order to protect children from exposure to harmful lead, property owners must follow certain regulations regarding any contamination on their premises.Any child that is poisoned by exposure to lead or harmful chemicals on a person’s property will cause that person to be liable for the child’s injuries. The child does not have to be on the property by invitation or legally, and they could be considered a minor trespasser. The owner would be liable regardless. All money awarded in the lawsuit is paid in the child’s name. If a child is harmed and a portion of fault for the accident can be attributed to negligence in regard to the child’s parents, then the property owner can seek contribution from the parents. The property owner must still face the lawsuit, but the parents’ contribution can lower the overall financial impact. The statute covering children under premises liability law also allows for the possibility of the property owner paying punitive damages. Punitive damages may be awarded in a case if the property owner was notified by an authority about the hazardous condition and failed to take any action to remove the condition. Punitive damages are a special form of damages meant solely to punish a wrongdoer financially for an intentional mistake, and they are awarded on top of any regular economic damages.There are many situations for which a property owner may face a premises liability lawsuit. One cause for such a lawsuit related to children is if lead based paints, plasters or other hazardous construction materials are present on the property and accessible to the child. An attorney can provide a parent with additional information on this type of matter. Source: General Court of Massachusetts, “Section 199Liability of owner of premises; punitive damages“, October 09, 2014