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Protect Your Children in Georgia Public Parks: Kids May Not Be as Safe As You Think

Protect Your Children in Georgia Public Parks: Kids May Not Be as Safe As You Think

I recently represented the family of a little boy who was badly burned by a hot light that was negligently placed in the middle of a sidewalk next to a playground. The light, not designed for that type of application, had been inadvertently left on all night. With his grandmother just a few feet behind him, the toddler ran over to put his hands on the lens. Immediately he screamed – his tiny hands were instantly burned. He was rushed to the hospital. Thankfully, he recovered full use of his hands after long weeks of bandages and ointments.

Unfortunately, in Georgia, there often is no recourse for families whose children are injured in public parks.

Under ordinary premises liability law, property owners in Georgia are required to exercise “ordinary care” in keeping their premises and approaches safe for someone who was invited onto the property. Failing to do so can subject a property owner to liability for damages when someone is injured on their property. A common example of an invitee is a store customer or business guest.

Unfortunately, the Georgia Recreational Property Act does not provide the same legal protection. It says that an owner of land who invites or permits persons to use their property for recreational purposes free of charge, owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others or to give warning of a dangerous condition. O.C.G.A. 51-3-22; 51-3-23. Liability is limited to instances where someone is injured because of the property owner’s “willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity.”

What was designed as a law in 1965 to encourage individuals and cities to provide public space for recreation has become a loophole used to neglect safety issues. The result is that many municipalities are not spending the time and money necessary to keep our children safe in public parks. So if you spot a dangerous condition in a public park in Georgia, notify the city or government officials in charge immediately and make sure you follow up on the remedy. You may just save a child’s life. Contact Vaught Law Firm, P.C. today for representation.