Attractive Nuisance Lawyers
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
The attractive nuisance doctrine makes a property owner liable for leaving a condition or object on his property that attracts and then injures a child. Under the doctrine, a landowner may be liable for injuries even if the child is trespassing and is on the property illegally. In some states, the doctrine has been replaced by laws governing specific conditions, such as swimming pools.
Examples of Attractive Nuisances Include:
- Swimming pools
- Machinery and tractors
- Abandoned appliances and equipment
- Building sites
The Basic Elements of Attractive Nuisance are:
- A potentially dangerous condition exists on the property
- The landowner created or maintained the potential hazard
- The landowner should have known the condition would attract children
- The landowner should have known the condition could harm children
What Precautions Can I Take Against Liability For Attractive Nuisance?
Courts do not require that property be child injury proof, but an effort should be able to keep children away from dangerous property, particularly if the property owner knows or should have reason to know that children are attracted to something on the property. Fences and locks are recommended, since some judges have ruled that if a child is old enough to climb a fence and break a lock, the child should be old enough to understand the consequences.
If you see a child on your property, immediately order the child off your property. Inform the parents or guardians, in writing if possible, that children should not be on the property because of safety hazards.
Signs and warnings may be helpful, although not to the degree that locks and fences are. First, some children may not be old enough to read or comprehend the warning given. Second, some children find the signs and warnings themselves an attractive nuisance (the “I dare you to do it!” variety of attraction).
In general, follow all applicable state and local laws. The easiest way for a lawyer to prove negligence is to find a statute that was not followed.
How Old Must the Child Be For The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine To Apply?
Since “attractive nuisance” is typically a judicial doctrine (it might be absent from statutes), there is rarely a set age. Applying “attractive nuisance” is decided on a case by case basis, although there are a few general guidelines:
- If a child is old enough to climb a fence, the child is old enough to understand the consequences
- If a child is ordered by an adult not to enter the property, the order may disable the doctrine from being used
- Teenagers are generally less likely to trigger the doctrine than extremely young children
Do I need a Lawyer for my Attractive Nuisance Case?
If your child has been injured, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. You may be able to recover losses for your child’s injuries. Or, if a child has been injured while on your property, a personal injury lawyer can determine whether a defense is available.
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Last Modified: 12-28-2012 03:10 PM PST
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