Premises Liability: A Sign Isn't Enough


The sign was there for all to see. It read “Moving gate can cause serious injury or death,” and the text was accompanied by a picture depicting a figure falling backwards. It is difficult to guess just what the picture is meant to represent, so reading the words was the only way that a young Las Vegas boy could have been warned not to play in the area of the gate.

Unfortunately, some children haven’t yet learned to read. Some adults can’t read, and no one should be punished for this. A written sign was not enough to warn the young boy away. On March 4, 2015, he was playing around the gate when a bicycle approached, signaling the gate to open, and his head was crushed by the heavy metal.

Neighbors reported having seen the boy play in the area before, but no one bothered to share with him the meaning of the sign. The company that manages the subdivision never bothered to make sure that the people who live there actually knew the gate was dangerous other than posting a small sign in the area.

The moving gate was at the front of a housing subdivision, and seems to serve no purpose. There is no system requiring a code to be entered for the gate to be open. There is no security guard to make sure only people who live in the subdivision are allowed inside. Whenever a car or smaller vehicle would approach, the gate would open, offering no security advantages.

All too often, not enough is done to prevent terrible injury or even death. There are many things that could have been done that could have saved this boy’s life, including:

  • Posting a security guard at the gate, or at least requiring drivers to enter a passcode to control the gate. The bicyclist or a driver could have seen the boy and warned him away before activating the gate
  • Providing a safety walkthrough to all families moving into the subdivision to be certain that everyone was aware of potential dangers
  • Encouraging families in the community to watch out for each other; families could have warned the boy away from the gate
  • Posting a much larger sign with easier to understand pictures

Unfortunately none of these things were done, and now a boy is dead. These types of situations are far too common. Businesses try to do as little as possible to make a situation safe, relying on a sign instead of actually following through with acceptable safety protocols.

If you or someone you love has been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, please contact an attorney. An experienced lawyer will know the right protocol to follow to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to anyone else.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.